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september

ICON

The intersection of art, entertainment, culture, opinion and mad genius

Filling the hunger since 1992

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Dr. Clark Erickson, Exhibition Curator and Curatorin-Charge of the Penn Museum’s American Section, leads a student group on a tour of the new exhibition.

A PASSION FOR PINTER | 22

NEW TRICKS | 38 Some of Philly’s most beloved chefs end summer and head into autumn with fun new gigs

COLUMNS

MUSIC

5 | THE BEAT Valley Beat City Beat 36 | ABOUT LIFE

32 | NICK’S PICKS John Pizzarelli George Freeman / Chico Freeman Orrin Evans

ART

34 | SINGER / SONGWRITER Sarah McQuaid The Isley Brothers Amy Helm Leaders in the Clubhouse Gaye Adegbafola & The Wild Rutz

6 | EXHIBITIONS Lehigh University Art Galleries Philadelphia Sketch Club Karl Stirner Arts Trail Auction 7 | A Walk in the Woods 8 | Art Shorts 9 | Ancient Panama 12 | Folk Art in America

THEATER Jo Strømgren’s “There”Photo: Knut Bry

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14 | City Theater 14 | Valley Theater 16 | Pop Goes the Opera and The FringeArts Festival

ENTERTAINMENT 18 | THE LIST

FILM

35 | KERESMAN ON DISC The Kitchen Cinq Dale Watson Underhill Rose Andy T - Nick Nixon Band Mike LeDonne

FOOD 39 | Han Dynasty 40 | Cross Culture

ETCETERA 42 | L. A. TIMES CROSSWORD 43 | AGENDA

20 | KERESMAN ON FILM The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

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24 | CINEMATTERS Queen of Earth 26 | BAD MOVIE Irrational Man 28 | FILM ROUNDUP Mistress America Ricki and the Flash She’s Funny That Way Time Out of Mind 30 | REEL NEWS Moonrise Kingdom The Falling I’ll See You in My Dreams Good Kill

Richard Gere in Time Out of Mind

Trina McKenna trina@icondv.com LEHIGH VALLEY/BUCKS ADVERTISING

FEATURE

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www.icondv.com PUBLISHER

Julian Sands solos in an intimate portrait of a playwright, poet, and panoramic personality

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Elephant Carousel Figure, attributed to workshop of Charles I. D. Looff (1852–1918), Brooklyn, New York, c. 1882, paint on basswood. Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection

1-800-354-8776 • 215-862-9558

Raina Filipiak filipiakr@comcast.net

ADVERTISING 800-354-8776 EDITORIAL Executive Editor / Trina McKenna PRODUCTION Designer / Richard DeCosta Assistant Designer / Kaitlyn Reed-Baker CITY BEAT Thom Nickels / thomnickels1@aol.com VALLEY BEAT Geoff Gehman / geoffgehman@verizon.net FINE ARTS Edward Higgins Burton Wasserman MUSIC Nick Bewsey / nickbewsey@gmail.com Mark Keresman / shemp@hotmail.com Bob Perkins / bjazz5@aol.com Tom Wilk / tomwilk@rocketmail.com FOOD Robert Gordon / rgordon33@verizon.net CONTRIBUTING WRITERS A. D. Amorosi / divaland@aol.com Robert Beck / robert@robertbeck.net Jack Byer / jackbyer@verizon.net Peter Croatto / petecroatto@yahoo.com James P. Delpino / JDelpino@aol.com Sally Friedman / pinegander@aol.com Geoff Gehman / geoffgehman@verizon.net George Miller / gomiller@travelsdujour.com R. Kurt Osenlund / rkurtosenlund@gmail.com Keith Uhlich / KeithUhlich@gmail.com

PO Box 120 • New Hope, PA 18938 (800) 354-8776 Fax (215) 862-9845

ON THE COVER: Julian Sands, page 22. Photo: Baldur Bragason

RATINGS ★=skip it; ★★=mediocre; ★★★=good; ★★★★=excellent; ★★★★★=classic

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ICON is published twelve times per year. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. ICON welcomes letters to the editor, editorial ideas and submissions, but assumes no responsibility for the return of unsolicited material. ICON is not responsible for claims made by advertisers. Subscriptions are available for $40 (shipping & handling). Copyright 2015 Prime Time Publishing Co., Inc.


the beat VALLEY BEAT

CITY BEAT

BY GEOFF GEHMAN

BY THOM NICKELS

When we visited Pittsburgh recently we found the restaurant world there to our liking. Popular are pubs with the kind of bar food you’d find at Standard Tap in Northern Liberties, only you won’t find breaded smelt—the most awful dish in the western hemisphere––in the Steel City. In Pittsburgh, as in Center City, popular restaurants mean long lines at places that do not take reservations. At one French eatery the lines were so long patrons lingered outside with drinks or sat at the bar until called. Our wait was so long the bartender offered a heartfelt apology. “I don’t know why people aren’t moving. They got their checks but they won’t go home.” The obsessive sitters didn’t care that other people had been waiting for more than an hour. We made the suggestion that the restaurant adopt a policy that customers not occupy a table for more than two and a half hours. One upscale Korean restaurant in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood already has this policy in place: “Please do not allow your dining experience to exceed two and one half hours” was printed on the back of the menu, although the service was so slow we came to see the time limit as a game in reverse psychology. The food at the French eatery with the long wait was mediocre, while the no-name, walk-in lunchtime Pittsburgh pubs we visited provided extraordinary dining experiences.

Jerry Seinfeld is a comic cosmologist who views donut holes as black holes. Appearing last month as the first main-stage comedian in Musikfest’s 32 years, he got plenty of yadda-yaddas out about such cosmic cultural absurdities as, well, donut holes. Seinfeld opened the hour-long show by saluting the developers of the SteelStacks site for making an entertainment center out of “a ton of rust.” A dead steel plant led to a riff on the crazy concept of a “deathbed.” The riff ended with Seinfeld imagining a store that sells death clock radios (“But there’s no snooze button. You get up or you don’t”). Seinfeld went postal on the Postal Service, alcoholic coffee drinks and—Sacrilege! Heresy!—the circus. He jazzed up routines with frantic hand waves, smiling grimaces and increasingly hoarse mock screams In short and in general, he played the righteously confused kvetcher. I laughed hardest at jokes about things I love. I remember childhood TV dinners as adult adventures and culinary vacations. Seinfeld remembers only leathery Salisbury steak and cracked-desert apple cobbler gobbled by desperate bachelors vowing to eat, and live, better. TV dinners have improved more lives, he reasoned, than life coach Tony Robbins. I laughed longest at jokes about things I hate. For me golf is annoyingly expensive and annoying. For Seinfeld golf is as pointless as “throwing a Tic-Tac 100 yards into a shoebox.” The game is good only as a good excuse to escape domesticity; hence the acronym GOLF (Get Out; Leave Family). Our aversion to golf was shared by the late George Carlin, one of Seinfeld’s heroes. Like Carlin, Seinfeld is a master at dissecting family dynamics. Comparing marriage to a TV game show, he insisted that husbands will never, ever win the category “Details of a Conversation We Had at 3 O’Clock in the Morning Eight Years Ago.” Seinfeld lacks Carlin’s buzzsaw irony, delicious sense of danger and hippie-dippy charm. He has plenty of Carlin’s sneaky smarts about the shifting nature of communicating. After listing the ways that smart phones have made talking nearly obsolete, he concluded that maybe he’d be better off just texting his gigs.

Photojournalist Neil Benson has been working in the city since 1970. His photographs have appeared in The Drummer, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Rolling Stone, Time, People and The New York Times. The opening of his current show at The History Museum attracted about 100 people. Benson talked about the early days of his career, when The Drummer paid him ten dollars a shot. He said that when he photographed Mike Schmidt of the Phillies, Schmidt rolled on the floor and pretended to make love to his baseball bat while repeating the line, “This is what you want; I’m giving you what you want.” From the thousands of negatives, contact sheets and photos that Benson donated to the Museum, about 140 images were selected for the exhibit. Faces on the wall include Judge Lisa Richette at the typewriter; Mayor Rizzo and Queen Elizabeth; a young Anne d’Harnoncourt in an antebellum-style dress chatting with two Social Register types who had no idea that the woman in front of them would become one of the Museum’s greatest directors. We liked the photo of KYWTV’s award-winning 1970s news team just before Jessica Savitch went national, but we’re sorry that Benson didn’t have his camera handy to capture PMA’s Joseph J. Rishel and Kathleen Foster, who were among those present. We hung out with beefy parking valet types at the opening party for Luxe Valet, an on-demand valet parking service. The event took place at Benjamin’s Desk, the former offices of Philadelphia Weekly. BD doesn’t have the best vibe in the city. Maybe it’s the utilitarian rectangular room that recalls a Cub Scout den or a Lion’s Club lodge, but something’s amiss here. Mayor Nutter joined the happy beer and white wine drinking crowd that munched on Italian hoagies and soft pretzels. Though we didn’t recognize a single face, at least we figured out that the reason why parking valet guys don’t make eye contact is because they’re trained to look for moving vehicles. The Dell Music Center packs them in. With 600 lawn seats and 5,284 reserved seats, you wouldn’t think there’d be much of a tailgating spillover. At Historic Strawberry Mansion, the city’s largest historic house museum (looking good after a recent two million dollar restoration) when there’s a Dell concert it means the museum gets trashed. Cars drive and park illegally all over the museum’s lawn, leaving ruts from tires, injured shrubs and violated flowerbeds. After an August 6th concert, a car backed into a fire hydrant, un-rooting it. Other tailgaters set up grills and tents along the edge of the museum’s lawn. The lawn becomes the go to deposit spot for human waste, garbage, stained napkins, beer bottles, diapers, chicken bones and Styrofoam food containers. The museum has made several complaints to the Mayor and to First Deputy Commissioner of Recreation and Programs, Susan Slawson, but to no avail. We think the city should at least send out cleaning crews and hire parking enforcers on the night of the big concerts.

A valuable exhibit teaches me at least three things about subject, treatment and history. I made at least six valuable discoveries during A Shared Legacy, a traveling show of folk objects made in America between 1800 and 1920. Displayed through Oct. 11 at the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, it’s a magnetic map of revolutions of industry, commerce and manners. Most of the works are owned by Barbara L. Gordon, a big fan of sociological stories. Her collection includes strikingly symbolic portraits of children as budding adults. Thanks to Gordon, I had my first encounters with a boy holding a wallet, a wish for a wealthy future, and an infant leaning on an adult-size chair, a wish for a stable life. Rich oils of a well-appointed married couple come with a delightful surprise: the jewels the woman wears in her portrait. The spouses also appear in reproduced daguerreotypes, a novel medium that made people painters worry about their livelihoods. I’ve seen a few score of 19th-century cigar-store Indians. Gordon introduced me to a cigar-store woman holding a cigarette, a sexy mascot for male smokers and a sexist scourge for women forbidden to smoke in public. A Shared Legacy neatly balances comfortable items (carousel animals) with uncomfortable items (paintings of a church burned by Irish Catholic enemies). It proves that folk art can be profound without being plain or primitive.

An end-of-summer Friends of the Avenue of the Arts event took place in Macy’s Greek Hall where we chatted with FAA’s Tim Moore and met two Manhattan transplants who are making Center City their new home. Philadelphia is less expensive than New York, and there are seldom lines at restaurants. It’s a city overflowing with arts and culture. These ex-New Yorkers love the Barnes, especially the coffee in the Barnes café and say they don’t miss overcrowded Manhattan at all. The Avenue of the Arts was named one of America’s “Great Streets” by the American Planning Association in 2008. ■

The Karl Stirner Arts Trail in Easton covers a lot of good ground, just like its namesake. The 2.5-mile trail winds along Route 22, Bushkill Creek, woods, silk mill and dog park. For a quarter century Stirner has wound his way into his adopted city as a sculptor, curator, landlord, advocate, advisor and citizen. He specializes in recycling scrap metal and scrapped souls. In July the trail received two bursts of momentum. It hosted its first movie, St. Vincent, where Bill Murray plays a cranky, unlikely mentor to a lonely, savvy boy. The same month Lafayette College hosted an exhibit of proposals for sculptural installations along the trail. Paul Deery envisions a tunneling walkway of stacked stones by a path to the Bushkill, where he fishes and skips stones with his kids. Karla Stingerstein conceived a 17-foot-high pod for storing seeds for a “Polli-Patch.” On Oct. 4 Lafayette will host a second art auction to endow the trail. Renowned donors include printmaker Faith Ringgold, photographer Larry Fink and poet Gerald Stern. Visit karlstirnerartstrail.org for more information about making a path a better pathway. ■

Geoff Gehman is the author of the memoir The Kingdom of the Kid: Growing Up in the Long-Lost Hamptons (SUNY Press). geoffgehman@verizon.net.

Thom Nickels is the author of Philadelphia Architecture, Tropic of Libra, Out in History, Spore, and recipient of the 2005 Philadelphia AIA Lewis Mumford Architecture Journalism Award. thomnickels1@aol.com

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EXHIBITIONS

Philadelphia Sketch Club Workshops Philadelphia Sketch Club 235 South Camac Street, Philadelphia, PA sketchclub.org 215-545-9298

Onchi, Ko¯shiro¯, Portrait of a Poet (Sakutaro Hagiwara), 1943, Woodblock print on paper

Object As Subject The Lehigh University Art Galleries Teaching Collection Lehigh University Art Gallery 420 East Packer Ave., Bethlehem, PA 610-758-6880 Luag.org Through May 27, 2016 Object As Subject celebrates Lehigh University’s sesquicentennial and its history of regarding art as an integral part of the classroom. Works in the exhibition reflect the university’s world-class collection of over 12,000 art objects, representing a broad range of cultures and materials. Relying on the generosity of alumni and friends, the LUAG Teaching Collection has become a laboratory for visual literacy used by students, faculty, and the community at-large. From the very beginning, Lehigh University has viewed the arts as a fundamental part of its educational vision. Lehigh’s first president Henry Coppée included drawing and painting among the core subjects that every well-rounded student should study, regardless of major. In this exhibition, European masters like Bonnard, Redon, and Picasso join American Outsiders like Finster and Eilshemius. Pioneers of photography, Cameron, Rau, and Maybridge are seen side-by-side with Japanese prints by Hiroshige and Onchi. Other artist highlighted in the exhibition include: Burchfield, Dürer, Rembrandt, Vuillard, FantinLatour, Warhol, Matisse, Bourke-White, Käsebier, Lam and Lawrence. Gallery talk with Nicholas Sawicki, Assistant Professor of Art History and LUAG Director / Chief Curator Ricardo Viera, October 22 at 5pm. Reception to follow. All LUAG programs are free and open to the public. Free docent-led tours are available by appointment.

Have you always wanted to learn to draw, paint or make prints? The historic Philadelphia Sketch Club has workshops for you. People of all skill levels are welcome to come to the workshops with materials of their own choosing. Workshops offered include Life Model, Costumed Model and Printmaking. All workshops are open to the public with no pre-registration. Workshop attendees will have an open opportunity to exhibit their work at the annual Workshop Show. See sketchclub.org for schedules (Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Sat sessions), fees and more information. (IS THERE A BETTER WAY TO SAY THIS – CLASSES ARE MULTI-WEEK – NO PREREGISTRATION) The Philadelphia Sketch Club is America’s oldest club for artists. Since 1860, the PSC has served as a meeting place, forum for ideas, and a vital bridge between the creators and supporters of art. Past luminaries have included such American masters as Eakins and Anshutz. Present luminaries could include you.

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Karl Stirner Arts Trail Benefit Auction Pfenning Alumni Center, Lafayette College 730 High Sreet, Easton, PA October 4, 2015 The Karl Stirner Arts Trail is a 2.4 mile sculpture park containing contemporary works by Willie Cole, Patricia Meyerowitz, David Kimball Anderson, Patrick Strzelec, Loren Madsen, and longtime Easton resident Karl Stirner. Proceeds from the auction go toward the placement of works along the trail.

Ed Kerns, Martian Sex

Tickets are $25 in advance. Doors open and a cocktail reception begins at 3:00 PM with the auction at 4:00 PM. Works by Jase Clark, Larry Fink, Peter Grippe, James Harmon, Ed Kerns, Stacy Levy, Loren Madsen, Josef Meierhans, Martha Posner, Faith Ringgold, Gerald Stern, Jim Toia and others will be auctioned. Reservations and auction catalog: karlstirnerartstrail.org.


ART A THOUSAND WORDS STORY AND PAINTING BY ROBERT BECK

A Walk in the Woods I WAS A PRETTY easy kid to manage. All my mother had to do was give me a sandwich, boot me out of the house, and I would spend the entire afternoon playing by myself in the backyard. At dinnertime she just yelled out the door. If I wasn’t somewhere in a pile of dirt under the apple tree I was up in the branches surveying the neighborhood. The house was where I was when I couldn’t be outside. When I was a little older I would get on my bicycle and zoom off in whatever direction caught my interest. I’d be two blocks away by the time the screen door slapped shut. Often I would go to a large wooded tract at the end of Gordon Avenue where kids like me would build secret places underground and in hollow trees. I’d come home with bloody knees and elbows, lumps on my head, my shirt in shreds. It was a great way to grow up. Yes, I hurt myself. I have a scar from my nose to my lip from not paying attention, and one across my chin from when a plan went wrong, but that’s why they make beards. Learning those lessons saved me from having to do it later in life when the stakes were higher. Considering the vividness of my imagination it’s a little surprising that I’m not scared of the dark. I’ve been in very remote places at night and experienced a wonderful sense of peace and fulfillment. In contrast, the most profound sense of loneliness I ever felt was a night decades ago on a Manhattan rooftop looking at the millions of illuminated windows stretching across the city. Nature is not just something out there, it is something deep inside all of us. Civilization is only an agreement. When Doreen is away for an extended period I have to be careful not to let my civilized side degrade too much. It’s too easy for Jack and me to revert to pack behavior, eating from the same bowl and sleeping together under the porch. It takes a couple of days to reboot my manners before she returns—get the kibble out of my hair, that sort of thing. We don’t control nature, we are part of it, and that’s a comfortable place for me. When I walk alone in the woods, day or night, I feel as if I am surrounded by life. Not just living things but a living place. One of the most beautiful sights anywhere is the streak of silver-blue that moonlight paints across the forest floor. Watching Jack move through the pools of light and shadow is mesmerizing. The woods remind me of being in the apple tree, and brings back memories of camping trips, and the ancient, spellbinding sacrament of campfires.

Robert Beck’s work can be seen at www.robertbeck.net.

My most memorable campfire was at Watkins Glen in 1973. There were about twenty people sitting in a circle— some with guitars. I didn’t know any of them. My friend Bill and I had just wandered over to take the chill off the October night. There was a large man who looked to be in his forties, sitting in a lawn chair, bundled in a red plaid coat and matching ear-flapped hat, with collar and cuffs snapped closed as if someone else had dressed him. Another man stood and spoke out that it was time for this guy to recite “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” The group went quiet. Logs snapped and popped as embers swirled into the darkness overhead. People refolded their blankets around their shoulders. The guy in plaid began. There are strange things done in the midnight sun . . . He stared into the fire and spoke in the tone of a man giving a deposition, with a voice clear and reflective as if he had been “on the marge of Lake LeBarge” those many years ago and never got over it. The tale of a reluctant pledge made and kept held all of us in its arctic grasp. There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror driven, With a corpse half hid, that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given. It didn’t matter that I had heard Robert W. Service’s famous poem before. As the flames performed their hypnotic dance on a mountain top in upstate New York, with the heat on my face and the cold breath of autumn against the back of my neck, I listened to it for the first and best time. ■ W W W. FA C E B O O K . C O M / I C O N D V ■ W W W. I C O N D V . C O M ■ S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5 ■ I C O N ■ 7


Art Shorts CURATED BY ED HIGGINS

Benefit for Earthquake-ravaged Haiti at E-Moderne Gallery

press an evocative feeling of vigor and vivaciousness. With a controlled palette, her works are graceful in their spiritual fluidity of rhythm and measure. Imaginative and

Bryn Mawr artist Chantal Westby and Edward Fong, owner of the E-Moderne Gallerie at 116 Arch Street, Philadelphia, have teamed up for “From Here to Haiti,” an exhibition to benefit an all-volunteer group that assists in the reconstruction of two classrooms in the earthquake-devastated country. Westby, a native of Valenciennes in northern France, studied design there and fine art here at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She has exhibited widely Undergrowth No. 2, 30x40. Ink and gold leaf on canvas.

meticulous, they sparkle through the artist’s nuanced approach to the outside world.” Westby says, “It is our imagination that enables us to endure our lowly, infinite status.” E-Moderne Gallerie is a contemporary art gallery with an Asian contemporary emphasis. The gallery focuses on the artfully curated works of both emerging and mid-career artists from around the globe.

George Shinn at Muse Gallery At an age when most men are looking for a rocking chair and slippers, George Shinn is looking forward to his next art show at the Muse Gallery, 52 North Sec-

Chantal Westby, Awaking to the Fifth Dimension, 24 x 30. Two panels. Ink on Canvas

in the United States and abroad. She has had a number of solo exhibitions and her works are in a number of museums and private collections. The images in this show come from Westby’s trips to Haiti and the opening of the exhibition is slated to be a fundraiser for the charitable group. The suggested donation on September 12 is $30. The exhibition itself will run through October 11. The gallery notes, “In her work, Chantal Westby’s highly abstract compositions, with the neat and clean use of lines, ex-

George Shinn, Now and Again.

ond Street, Philadelphia. The 85-year-old Shinn is in the middle of his second ca-

reer as an artist after having labored in the corporate world for many years. Shinn’s highly colorful abstractions are defined by arbitrary shapes placed together to suggest collage. The forms and shapes are in saturated colors floating in the foreground against a backdrop of more geometric designs. According to the Gallery, “In Shinn’s upcoming show, new abstractions join with the haunted and haunting characters he has already revealed in their otherworldly universe. He displays a disciplined control with areas of florid color, harsh outlines, unexpected depths and flattened spaces. All of his paintings are deeply imbued with the wisdom that has come to him during George’s 85 years on earth.” Shinn himself says, “Growing up in Burlington, NJ, I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn’t making pictures, but in my teens my family situation forced me to stop my formal art training and enter the business world. For years I continued painting on weekends—a Sunday painter.” He regards himself as a reporter of the people and the world around him. He currently lives in University City. The exhibition, “Now and Then” at Muse Gallery runs through September 27.

A Painting by Santiago Galeas.

history and landscape of her home city. She was born in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and PAFA. She has also won a number of awards and has been exhibited widely in her home city.

Sara Hunter and Santiago Galeas at Rodger LaPelle Gallery Two emerging artists, Sarah Hunter and Santiago Galeas, open up the fall season with “Subsurface” at Rodger LaPelle Galleries, 122 North Third Street. The exhibition, “reveals ideas of suppression and memory while using still life and figurative imagery to illustrate this theme.” The show runs through the end of October. Santiago Galeas specializes in figurative oil paintings inspired by found materials. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the School of Art and Design in Maryland. He has won a number of awards. Sarah Hunter is a Philadelphia-based painter. The specific source object is as important to her as the way in which the paint is handled, or the composition is developed. Hunter's inspirations include artists such as Giotto, Philip Guston and Honore Sharrer, images and writings pertaining to the natural sciences, and the

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Sarah Hunter, On the Prowl.

Rodger LaPelle Gallery: “Galeas and Hunter each specialize in different genres of painting, but have similar intentions behind their creations. Hunter’s work follows in the tradition of still life and narrative painting, interpreted to evoke a diorama-like feel, while Galeas’ work takes inspiration from historical portraiture, yet often delves into abstraction.” The exhibition runs from September 4 through October 31. ■


ART BY BURTON WASSERMAN

LIFE, DEATH & GOLD

A

IN ANCIENT PANAMA

APPROXIMATELY THE SIZE OF South Carolina, the Republic of Panama features a wide variety of exotic tourist attractions. Besides being home to the great canal that connects the Caribbean and the Pacific, the area also offers all manner of warm weather sporting recreation. They include fishing, boating, swimming, mountain trekking, horseback riding, golf and watching professional baseball, frequently at prices competitive with those at similar destinations in the region, nearby. Furthermore, it is also a relatively crime free setting, alive with considerable natural tropical beauty, breathless sunsets and exceptional birdwatching. In addition, modern Panama offers visitors historic Spanish colonial sites, attractive dining and access to such articles as jewelry, molas (garments worn locally) and other items for purchase, hand fashioned by descendants of both ancient tribes and later immigrant artisans. Fortunately, ample health care facilities are very much in evidence. In addition, the local sanitary conditions are safe and the tap water is largely free of “Montezuma’s Revenge.” Finally, their paper currency, the balboa, and the U. S. dollar are entirely equal to each other for all transactions and exchange purposes. At this time, even deeper traces of life in Panama, going back to a pre-Columbian period of history, have been installed at the Penn Museum, (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology)in Philadelphia. It is titled Beneath the Surface: Life, Death and Gold In Ancient Panama and is scheduled to remain in place at the Museum until November 1, 2015. At one time, more than a thousand years ago, a cemetery on the banks of the Rio Grande Coclé River lay undisturbed, dispelling the attention of gold seekers and looters. Then, in 1927, the water flooded, scattering bits of gold upon the land on either side. Some years afterward, in 1940, a Penn Museum excavating party, led by anthropologist J. Alden Mason, undertook a field study at the cemetery location that brought out extraordinary discoveries. They included large golden plaques, stone carvings and pendants, treated in assorted animal and human shapes. There were also precious and semiprecious stones and tons of richly decorated ceramic objects. Together, they offer evidence of a sophisticated society that was active in the region from approximately 700 to 900 C.E. Informative video kiosks present commentary by a range of experts who illuminate the various artifacts on view. Together, they offer a superbly informative discussion of the selections brought to the surface by the digs. Together, these objects, crafted so long ago, give us a modern perspective for appreciating how natural life was confronted and interpreted, back then. Furthermore, they provide a view of objects that speak with eloquent intensity about the sheer passage of time. As such, they lend vivid meaning to words like the unfolding of the centuries, which, in turn provide unique insights into a portion of our own contemporary humanity. In effect, they are mirrors from the past, providing visions of the human capacity for interpretive expression. Like the ruins of other historic civilizations, the pieces now on view from ancient Panama in the Penn Museum tell us about their regard for tribal authority, social organization, religious beliefs, the function of tools and weapons and the esthetic guidelines they employed in crafting ritual objects. The freedom from clutter that animates the design of their jewelry and pottery is crisp with visual economy and an integrity that is very much one of their own making. Without question, the ideas and insights prompted by many of the items on display demonstrate how well the present day may do well to take note of such sound lessons, handed down from the past. ■ Dr. Wasserman is a professor emeritus of Art at Rowan U. and a serious artist of long standing.

A to-scale installation of one massive burial, named “Burial 11” by the excavators, serves as the centerpiece of the Penn Museum’s Beneath the Surface: Life, Death, and Gold in Ancient Panama exhibition.

Two individuals, in the middle layer of Burial 11, were accompanied by finer grave goods in larger numbers than anyone elsel—including objects of gold, copper, silver alloy, whale ivory, and ceramic.

The art and artifacts uncovered throughout the Sitio Conte cemetery were rich in cultural meaning and utilitarian value, and Beneath the Surface uses them to begin to create a portrait of the Coclé people.

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Art BY EDWARD HIGGINS

A Shared Legacy Folk Art in America

A REMARKABLY WELL-DOCUMENTED COLLECTION of American folk art with extraordinary examples of early American art and craftsmanship is currently on display at the Allentown Art Museum. A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America is a traveling exhibition of the collection of Barbara L. Gordon, a noted collector. The images come from the second collection of Barbara L. Gordon, wife of W. Stephen Cannon, a high-powered attorney in Washington, DC. Over the course of 25 years, Gordon collected from second-hand stores, yard sales, flea markets and estate sales. Then she sold it all and began the serious task of putting a collection together all over again. This time, however, it was with a “dose of discipline—Gordon was determined to put together a collection worthy of any museum. “Folk art speaks to the eye and the heart,” said Gordon. “For me, folk art represents the quintessential American art, growing indigenously out of the American experience. American folk art tells the story of our country in vivid colors, shapes, and forms. The paintings document individuals, places, and memories. The decorated furniture and domestic items, that brought color and style to a home, tell the story of daily life. Wood carvings, like cigar store figures, trade signs, and carousel animals, tell stories of commerce and recreation in earlier times.” Gordon has gone to a great degree to document the works of art and there are complete labels, both in English and Spanish. (Allentown is the only known museum in this area to go bilingual.) The catalog that accompanies the show is equally informative and shows the provenance of each piece. Such candor is usually not a high priority. The volume also contains a number of helpful essays. There are some “wow” moments in the show, such as a female cigar store Native American, and a portrait of a little boy by Ammi Phillips. The Old South Church in Bath, Maine, is painted three times by John Hilling (1822-1894): “The Old South Church” (as it originally looked), “Looting the Old South Church,” and “Burning the Old South Church.” The last shows the church being burned by an anti-Catholic mob known as the KnowNothings in 1854.

There are other marvels as well including those items obligatory in any show of American folk art—painted chests, whirl-a-gigs, iconic wood sculptures, decoys and statues of animals. Trade art is also well represented by, for example, a huge molar—an advertisement for a dentist’s office. In 1853, Daniel G Lamont painted a remarkable series of portraits of the Lamb family, one each of Cara, Josiah, and Emily. The Lamb family portraits appear as if painted recently, probably retaining their freshness because they descended with the family before reaching the art market. One of the most iconic of American images (only slightly less well-known than Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington) is “The Peaceable Kingdom” by Bucks County artist, Edward Hicks. A religious minister for the Society of Friends in Newtown, PA, Hicks painted 61 versions of the scene. The one in this show is a fine example. The question may remain: is the exhibition comprised of “fine” or “folk” art? In fact, this remarkable exhibition easily establishes these works simply as “art,” as it should, no more, no less. ■ Through October 11 at Allentown Art Museum, 31 North 5th St., Allentown, PA (610) 432-4333 allentownartmuseum.org (L-R): Rabbit Carousel Figure, attributed to the Dentzel Company, possibly Salvatore Cernigliaro (1879– 1974), Philadelphia, c. 1910, paint on basswood. Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection Elephant Carousel Figure, attributed to workshop of Charles I. D. Looff (1852–1918), Brooklyn, New York, c. 1882, paint on basswood. Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection Chalkware Cats, artist unidentified, c. 1850–1900, possibly Boston, New York City, or Philadelphia, paint on gypsum. Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection Indian Tobacconist Figure, artist unidentified, 1875–1895, New York City, paint on white pine. Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection

Edward Higgins is a member of The Association Internationale Des Critiques d’Art.

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THEATER VALLEY The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival version of Henry V began with a company song, an unscripted bit of business that made me wonder if I had wandered into the wrong play—say, Hank Cinq: The Musical. I quickly learned it was the first of many natural acts in an unusually unified production that restored Shakespeare’s fine-tuned portrait of war as hell, heaven and pretty much everything in between. Henry’s tavern pals are often played as tipsy, randy blowhards. Under Matt Pfeiffer’s astute direction, Bardolph, Nym and Pistol were robust, well-rounded, roustabout brothers. Especially effective was William Zielinski’s Pistol, who wore a dark disposition like a black hair shirt. His exaggerated eyebrow raises and scowls were worth the price of admission and priceless. Captain Fluellen, the hot-headed Welsh warrior, often gets lost in the shuffle of battles and negotiations. Anthony Lawton made him a pivotal character with a hulking, rattling, pistol-popping turn. He came off as a street-wise historian, a guru of hard-won honor. I’ve seen overly macho Henrys and wishy-washy Henrys. Zack Robidas wisely balanced the king as a wise psychologist, a canny diplomat and a priestly motivator. He had a graceful gravitas and a camp-fire fire while a disguised Henry reviewed his troops’ morale before the climactic Battle of Agincourt. His flexibility and sensitivity animated Henry’s awkward courting of Katherine, the French princess with a goofy grasp of English. Marnie Schulenburg’s Kate was amusingly daffy and sweetly bemused. Jacob Dresch’s Dauphin was a nicely imperious prick with a tennis player’s agility. Greg Wood invested the Chorus with the fevered pitch of Shakespearean royals— Richard II, Hamlet—he’s ruled. The show ended with another company song, a harmonious addition that made me think, hmmm, maybe we really do deserve “Henry V: The Musical.” Pericles is third-tier Shakespeare, a gluey stew of tragedy and comedy, mistaken death and miraculous reunion. A Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival troupe raised the play’s stock to second tier with a smart, clever production rehearsed the Elizabethan way, without a director for days instead of weeks.

The title prince was played with typically zesty imagination by Christopher Patrick Mullen, the festival’s quick-witted, fleet-footed Swiss Army knife. He was dashing and daring whether saving a kingdom from famine, winning another kingdom’s knightly tournament, or losing a wife to shipwreck and a daughter to adoption. As Marina, Pericles’ daughter, Emiley Kiser was elegantly savvy and subtly spunky, qualities that allow her character to escape murder and prostitution. As Bawd, the brothel gatekeeper, Suzanne O’Donnell displayed the spinning-top verve and puckish intelligence found in Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Richard B. Watson made a nasty king a viper-tongued Turkish vampire and a kind king a Southern aristocrat/yokel straight out of a Hee Haw adaptation of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The only thing I like better than outdoor Shakespeare is Shakespeare performed beautifully in a beautiful setting. All the chakras aligned during Allentown Shakespeare in the Park’s crisply inventive The Comedy of Errors, the company’s eighth annual production in Daddona Lake and Terrace, a park blessed by a grove of trees, a stage of grass, a creek and a grass-tiered bowl. In most productions two actors play the Antipholus twins and their twin servants Dromio. In this production the four characters were played by two people, which doubled the comic mayhem. In an exceptional move, the Antipholuses examined each other behind a curtain and a window. In a brilliant move, the Dromios boxed each other behind a window and a doorway, a real Punch-andJudy act. Erik Pearson directed an inspiring ballet of verbal choreography and fullbody comedy. Sofia Gomez (Antipholus) and Carter Gill (Dromio) were perfectly matched slapstick/farce buffoons who separated their characters with hats and Wild Western drawls. Lily Narbonne played the Abbess as a magnetic Maggie Smith diva. Christopher Ryan Grant turned Egeon, the Antipholus twins’ father, into an impressive cowboy orator after prefacing the show with a concert of country classics like “All My Ex’s Live in Texas.” ■ —Geoff Gehman

CITY Photograph 51 Anna Ziegler—the playwright behind The Minotaur, BFF—and Photograph 51, Nicole Kidman’s current West End success—tells the story of British scientist Rosalind Franklin and her determination to experiment and create in a male-dominated field. That determination paid off with her discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. Sept. 10-Oct. 11. Lantern Theatre. The Shoplifters Two of Philly’s finest theater veterans, Mary Martello and Johnny Hobbes Jr., work through droll Canadian playwright Morris Stephen Panych’s comedy of errors about crime and class struggles. That the play is Marla Burkholder and Mary directed by Martello. Photo: John Flak. local comic giant Jennifer Childs for Philly’s 1812 Productions only guarantees its focused laugh quotient. Through Sept. 20 at Arden Theatre.

Alias Ellis Mackenzie Thaddeus Phillips, the experimental multimedia theater performer and playwright, splits his time between Philadelphia and Bogota, Colombia, and has The Incredibly Dangerous Astonishing Lucrative and Potentially TRUE Adventures of Barry Seal and now its sequel, Alias Ellis Mackenzie, to show for it. Seal and Mackenzie are one man, the most notorious drug smuggler in U.S. history whose life is currently being filmed by Tom Cruise for the Doug Liman film, Mena. This is a far cry from Phillips’ previous Fringe outings such as the Latin-flavored comic travelogues 17 Border Crossings, Flamingo/ Winnebago, and ¡El Conquistador! Yet they retain a similar zest as they tell the story of a man of action, whether it was running drugs, arresting hoods, flying planes or smuggling. Phillips will fit all that on the Prince’s stage, trust me. Sept. 11-19 at Prince Theatre.

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Cole Porter’s High Society In 1939, Philip Barry wrote The Philadelphia Story, a witty Broadway play for Katherine Hepburn about a cold, Main Line socialite whose upcoming wedding plans get hilariously complicated by her still-loving ex-husband, snooping gossip reporters, and the father who left the family for a fan dancer. Though it was snatched up by MGM for George Cukor’s 1940 com-

Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra in High Society.

edy starring Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart, for my money, it was Cole Porter’s 1954 MGM musical High Society that truly got to the humor and the heart of the moneyed elite (though all action takes place in Newport). Starring Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Louis Armstrong doing Porter hits such as “True Love” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?,” the score is one of the composer’s best and most fun. Though I doubt the Walnut will right/write the wrong of moving the show’s events back to Philly, it’s nice to dream it. Sept 8-Oct 25 at Walnut Street Theatre. A Divine Evening with Charles Busch The award-winning playwright, actor, and director of abstract kitschy theater events such as The Lady in Question, Psycho Beach Party, and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, has a second (or fourth) life as a drag-dressed storyteller, sketch-scene artist, and songstress. This Divine evening with longtime Musical Director Tom Judson, marks Busch’s Philly debut dragging it up. Sept. 19 at Prince Theatre. ■ —A. D. Amorosi


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THEATER BY A. D. AMOROSI

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Pop Goes the Opera The FringeArts Festival

WHEN FRINGEARTS FESTIVAL UNFURLS throughout Philadelphia this month, it will feature, of course, some of the most adventurous theater and arts events on the planet. Director/writer Jo Strømgren will tackle three separate movement/theater events: his take on Ibsen’s A Doll House (Sept. 4-6); The Border (Sept. 9-12); and There (Sept. 9-12). There’s one male-to-female gender transition in the [redacted] Theater Company’s This Damned Body (Sept. 3-19), and two highly physical shows, one from Philly’s Tribe of Fools troupe, Zombies . . . with Guns (Sept. 4-12), and Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre’s Kill Will (Sept. 15-19), with its collection of killer fight scenes from your favorite Shakespeare plays.

There. Photo: Knut Bry

environment—literal and figurative. “I was especially struck by the large skulls and his portrait of Julia,” Jarboe said. “The work is disgusting, commercial, beautiful, and haunting. It also feels like a big Facebook wall from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Warhol is still so alive, even more so than before.” Heath Allen, BLC’s composer, says that visiting Pittsburgh gave him a sense of how Warhol thrives in today’s Internet-dominated world. “A visitor could have a Warhol-style screen test filmed at the museum and then see it on the screen in the lobby and download it onto one’s iPhone.” Ask Jarboe why didn’t portray Warhol and he says that for the sake of practicality, it’s just not feasible to direct an 18-person cast from within. “But I am all over Andy. Maybe I am Andy in this piece. I think everyone is.”

Zombies…With Guns. Tribe of Fools.

A Popera. Watercolor by Flying Hand Studio.

There’s a celebration of the quintessential underground space, West Philly’s Eris Temple Artspace (Sept. 3, 4, 10, 11); Jenn Kidwell and Scott Sheppard’s humorous look at race relations in the Underground Railroad Game (Sept. 2-12); and the Pig Iron Theatre and Dr. Dog join forces for SWAMP IS ON (Sept. 9-12). All that and still, there’s one that seems to be highest on the totem pole for its sheer inventiveness, as well as its longtime status in development heaven—the weird, wonderful mash-up of high opera and low cabaret that is Andy: A Popera. Co-produced by Opera Philadelphia and Philly’s Bearded Ladies Cabaret, the site-specific work explores Andy the Icon rather than the specifics of his art—what Warhol has become as a brand. Since the Bearded Ladies Cabaret is an experimental cabaret company that, in Director John Jarboe’s words, “…make performative poison cookies, live, music-driven happenings that take the things you love and know and perform them in a new light, a new voice, a new frame in all sorts of places and sizes—from pop-up gardens, to train stations, to warehouses.” “With a punch bowl of unlimited booze, ingredients unlisted” as their aesthetic guide, Jarboe said, this isn’t the staid, quiet Warhol who says little while watching the action of his Pop Superstars unfurl around him. This isn’t just Andy passively filming Candy Darling, Edie Sedgwick, his mother Julia Warhola, or feminist writer/would-be assassin Valerie Solanas. As performed by one of this city’s most magnetic performance artist/actresses, Mary Tuomanen (last seen in her one-woman show Hello! Sadness! at the Kimmel Center), Warhol is a grand, wiry twig in a field of wild palms, a (wo)man of more depth and texture than Jarboe initially thought before doing his homework. He headed to Pittsburgh, Warhol’s hometown, to see his museum and

Heath Allen said that he and composer Dan Visconti were challenged to work out how theatrical cabaret and traditional classical voices can exist in the same musical universe. “Fortunately, the opera company put four of their singers in the workshop room from the very beginning,” says Allen. “They were amazingly generous and taught me a lot about how to write for the classical voice. I eventually found a musical language in which I could float clouds of classical voices over the top of some rock grooves—sometimes in a very distant harmonic relationship. After a while, slipping in and out of the two genres became very natural for me.” When I asked how they managed to merge opera and cabaret, Jarboe muses aloud that Andy: A Popera is the story of a boy who becomes a brand, and his journey from human to phenomenon. “That is an operatic story,” he said. “His story—that opera— becomes American by appropriating the popular and commercial culture of America and making it his. This is where the cabaret comes in. Cabaret is also the essential relationship with the audience, meaning there is no fourth wall and that the space is a live space that insists on its liveness. We never pretend to be anywhere other than where we are.” How does one focus on the phenomenon rather than the man or the art? Jarboe says that he and his crew manifested the phenomenon in 12 opera singers, starting with one small boyish figure. “He is the human, they are the machine he wishes he was or could be. The question we explore is what is the cost?” Composed by Heath Allen and internationally-renowned classical composer Dan Visconti, with a libretto by Director John Jarboe, Andy: A Popera runs September 10-20 at 1526 North American Street (operaphila.org). ■

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The List SEPTEMBER 4, 5 Seconds of Summer Now that One Direction has lost traction with kids as well as its original member,

it’s time for 5 Seconds of Summer to rise, wipe the grins off their faces and get moving harder and louder. No really. These kids are good. (Susquehanna Center)

10 Bruce Sudano Bruce Sudano has written songs for Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton and Reba McIntire. He was a member of the original rock-disco band Brooklyn Dreams, and he played with and was married to the legendary Donna Summer. Rarely though has he had the opportunity to perform as himself, solo. This is one. (World Café Live) 12 & 17 Rick Springfield There is such a warm resurgence for 70’s teen pop star Springfield what with his weird role in True Detective’s second season and his swarthy rocker in Jonathan

14 Eagles of Death Metal Renegade punks from Queens of the Stone Age present the sound a panic room makes when empty. (Underground Arts) 15 Tommy Keene Power pop’s best longest kept secret returns with another new album, Laugh in the Dark. I’d say it was his best yet, until the next one. (Boot and Saddle) 15 Josh Groban GROBANITES UNITE. (Tower) 17-20 The First 100 Years of Edith Piaf The Teatro Potlach Performing Arts Theater of Fara Sabina, Italy tackle the myth

5 Steve Miller/Doobie Bros Fly like an eagle or listen to the music, whoah-ah-oh. (Susquehanna Center) 5 Earl Sweatshirt One of rap’s most engagingly humorous fellows, this Odd Future escapee is worth a late night out—like his show starts after 11 p.m. And why? (TLA) 5, 6 Budweiser Made in America Festival That’s why. This festival from Jay-Z and Live Nation is in its third iteration unlike its previous two events, there’s no rock headliner but plenty of solid nu-soul (Beyonce), hip hop (J. Cole, De La Soul) and electro (Bassnectar). That doesn’t mean that rock isn’t at MIA, it’s just minor scale (Modest Mouse, Metric, Death Cab for Cutie). Plus, Philly is represented in Meek Mill, Santigold, Strand of Oaks, Hop Along, (Benjamin Franklin Parkway)

Demme’s Ricki & the Flash. See him. 9/12 at Borgata Festival Park. 9/17 at Sands Bethlehem. 13 Funny or Die Presents the ODDBALL Comedy and Curiosity Festival Comedian and author Aziz Ansari welcomes the best comic in America, Amy Schumer, and a bunch of other guys with shows on Comedy Central such as Antho-

9 Dengue Fever You might not want the fevers or rashes that accompany Dengue Fever the disease, but as far as albums go, the only aches you’ll get from The Deepest Lake, Dengue Fever’s fifth full-length of Cambodian pop and West Coast psychedelia, is from dancing. (Johnny Brenda’s)

ny Jeselnik, Dave Attell, John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, Nikki Glaser with a few SNL alums (Michael Che, Jay Pharoah) for seasoning. (Susquehanna Center)

20 Kelly Clarkson When she isn’t busy having children, the original American Idol makes a damn good case for dramatic dance pop and occasional forays into country. (Susquehanna Center) 22 Motorhead You might have a hard time understanding the Ace of Spades Lemmy, but there’s nothing blunter than the kick-in-the-face sounds of Motorhead. (Tower) 23 Jackie Greene One fifth of Joan Osborne’s Trigger Hippy and a jam soul singing giant to boot, Jackie Greene is always welcome anywhere he plays and at any time. (World Café Live) 24 Madonna Whether you’ve seen Madge before or not, do this. Long before Miley, Taylor or Britney, she was lady pop’s provocateur. (Wells Fargo Center)

and mirthless magic of quintessential Parisian chanteuse Piaf with Nathalie Mentha in the title role and French gangsters following in hot pursuit. (Touchstone Theatre)

27 Jackie Evancho I don’t like kids much, but 14-year-old vo-

19 Ride Arbiters of Britain’s shoegaze movement —albeit in poppier form than, say, the brand’s originators, My Bloody Valentine—reunite for an oldies tour. (TLA) 19 Algiers If you’ve wondered why nobody since the Violent Femmes have bothered to tie to-

9 Titus Andronicus The damn-near-Shakespearian Patrick Stickles has written a crunching-ly loud rock opera, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, based on his longtime bouts and doubts with manic depression. (Union Transfer)

19 Charles Busch Absurd wunderkind and drag personage Charles Busch dons high heels and swings it. (Rrazz Room at the Prince Theatre)

gether the sounds of sacred gospel music with the clash of punk rock, stop wondering and waiting. (Boot and Saddle)

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calist Jackie Evancho from NBC’s America’s Got Talent has got something. (State Theatre) 30 Twin Shadow (Union Transfer) and 30 Wavves with Twin Peaks (TLA) Sometimes it’s pandas. Sometimes it’s bears. Sometimes it’s ghosts; every year has its run of band names so similar to each other, it’s confusing. Rarely do two of them play on one day in the same city. Enjoy one or both. Collect the set. ■ —A. D. Amorosi


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FILM KERESMAN ON FILM REVIEW BY MARK KERESMAN

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The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

HISTORY LESSON, KIDS: FOR readers with short memories, the world was a very different place in the early 1960s, specifically the Kennedy years. Russia—then known as the Soviet Union—was dedicated to the spreading of their communist ideology and the USA was equally dedicated to stopping them. This was called the Cold War, as Russia and America vied for Who Could Wield The Most Global Influence without a shoot-‘em-up occurring. Also big in the early ‘60s: The James Bond films. Spy films—and parodies of them—became extremely popular. In fact, Bond creator Ian Fleming was an uncredited cocreator of the ‘60s TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. This acronym stood for United Network Command for Law Enforcement and the concept was ahead of its time—here was a worldwide organization that was united—it had Russian members—against global threats to world security and peace. While early episodes maintained a gloomy Cold War ambience, after a time the villainy of THRUSH was introduced, a shadowy international conspiracy dedicated to world domination by some of the most bizarre means imaginable. (Examples: A machine that induces earthquakes and a machine that produces what appear to be lots of frothy soap bubbles that dissolves living tissue.) The film version, inspired by the series, is something of an origin story… American spy Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Russian spy Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), both among the best each side has in the spy biz, must put aside their mu-

tual enmity to stop an unnamed organization from going into the Do-It-Yourselves-Atomic-Weapons business. Neither Us nor Them wants some goofball/maverick getting hold of an A-bomb, and it’s strongly hinted that the recipients of this bootleg nuke will be some leftover Nazis that’d like to see a Fourth Reich. The Russian and the American spy agencies warily collaborate to prevent this. Each character is given some unusual backstory (not touched on in the series): Solo was a former military officer turned thief, paroled from prison to work for the CIA; and Kuryakin’s father was a both a Stalinist (Stalin being a particularly vicious leader) and an embezzler of government funds, and so to hide his shame he becomes an overachiever that has, to put it mildly, anger issues. Solo is a suave ladies’ man; Kuryakin is chilly and all business. To prevent the nuke from going on the market, they need to track down a missing scientist, that both sides believe is building the bootleg weapon for some bad people—so they work with the scientist’s daughter Gaby (Alicia Vikander, the lovely robot in Ex Machina). In a small but memorable supporting role is the formerly-boyish Hugh Grant as a British spy that lends our heroes some well-needed support. (Unlike the Bond films, it takes more than one or two resourceful types to bring down a nest of evil swine.) Because this is directed by Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes), we know it’s going to be a stylish romp. There’s lots of groovy 1960s fashions, bright colors, and (for Americans, anyway) exotic locations. It’s fairly fast-

RATINGS ★=skip it; ★★=mediocre; ★★★=good; ★★★★=excellent; ★★★★★=classic

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paced, full of witty PG-rated banter and innuendo, brisk action scenes, and not-gory violence. After the glum intensity of the Bourne movies and TV shows such as Homeland, U.N.C.L.E. is something rather fun. (Though to be sure, it’s not nearly as over-the-top as Kingsman, which I also liked.) Balancing the fun is some decent acting from all the principals. While Vikander is a little under-utilized, she’s spunky and smart (she’s a wiz of a car mechanic) and it’s cute the way she tries to get the dour Kuryakin to loosen-up some. Where U.N.C.L.E. falters a bit: The villains are mostly pretty bland and forgettable, with the exception of Gaby’s villainous Uncle Rudi (German actor Sylvester Groth, Goebbels in Inglorious Basterds) who oozes serpentine charisma as a sadistic creep. Like many movies, U.N.C.L.E. is a bit longer that it has to be—some of the scenes of our heroes bickering got to be redundant. Hey, if you like good-looking spies saving the world, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. provides a good time…I hope the sequels (you know there might be one) include the sometimes sinister vibe of the original series. There was one particularly chilling line, and feel free to apply it to whatever political organization you like: Solo (as portrayed by Robert Vaughn) says, “THRUSH believes in a two-party system—the masters and the slaves.” ■ Mark Keresman also writes for SF Weekly, East Bay Express, Pittsburgh City Paper, Paste, Jazz Review, downBeat, and the Manhattan Resident.


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INTERVIEW

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A Passion for Pinter BY GEOFF GEHMAN

Julian Sands solos in an intimate portrait of a playwright, poet, and panoramic personality

ON’T BE ALARMED IF you’re visiting Kensal Green Cemetery in London and you hear a familiar-looking fellow talking to the tombstone of a Nobel laureate. It’s only actor Julian Sands communing with Harold Pinter, the mighty spirit of his solo show about a master writer, teacher and lover of humanity. A Celebration of Harold Pinter, which Sands will perform October 6 at Lafayette College, is an intimate portrait of someone best known as a writer of plays—The Birthday Party, Betrayal—where intimacies are ruthlessly guarded and exposed. Wearing a casually elegant suit and tieless shirt, Sands creates a cyclorama of stories, quips and excerpts from Pinter’s writings, including his acceptance speech for the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature. The program is anchored by Pinter’s poems about his passions for language, politics, peace, dignity, cricket and Antonia Fraser, his wife and fellow writer. Their 33-year affair began at a party ended by Pinter asking “Must you go?” Sands’ affair with Pinter’s plays started as a teen in his native Yorkshire. In 1987, two years after his breakthrough role as a kind son and humorously awkward lover in the movie A Room with a View, he played Mr. Sands in Basements, Robert Altman’s TV film of Pinter’s play The Room. Since then he’s cultivated a Pinter-esque persona—subtly funny, sublimely creepy, charmingly disarming—while playing everyone from a spider scientist to a warlock, Louis XIV to Tony Blair. It was Sands’ turn as the former British prime minister in the play Stuff Happens that compelled Pinter to invite him to a 2005 lunch. During the meal Pinter surprised Sands, a casual acquaintance, by asking him to read his poems during a charity event in London; Pinter couldn’t appear because his splendid voice was sapped by esophageal cancer. Famously fastidious about the meaning of his words and punctuations, Pinter spent four afternoons coaching Sands in the nuances of beats, pauses and silences. Sands compares those 12 hours in Pinter’s study to “swimming with a tiger shark.” Three years later, Sands produced a Pinter memorial in a Hollywood church hall. That tribute became the trampoline for Celebration, which is directed by actor John Malkovich, whom Sands befriended while filming The Killing Fields. Their Pinter collaboration debuted at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where Sands distributed flyers on streets. Sands, 57, has called himself a roving rogue, a happy descendant of wandering performers of “rags, patches, songs, ballads and snatches.” Below, in a conversation from his California home, he discusses a Homeric quest blessed by fans of Warlock and a favorite writer from the great beyond. Q: You were a Pinter fan before you became a professional performer. Did his writing help make you want to act for a living? If so, what did he give you that you needed? A: When I went to drama school Pinter’s texts were always at the basis of our scene work. I always felt this tremendous connection, as did many other actors. Because he had been an actor himself, his ear for language was very practiced and intuitively brilliant. I was inspired by the complete originality of his works for the stage. His situations and landscapes had such a refreshing perspective. His characters were people I felt that I knew and could be. I’m thinking particularly of Mick and Aston, the very different brothers in The Caretaker. I grew up with brothers, so I knew the depth and range of

sibling shifts of perspective. Although I first studied Harold’s work as a teen, it’s as an adult, past 40, that I really came to fully appreciate and relish it. One of the things about his writing is that it is very much written for grownups. Q: Why did Harold ask you to substitute for him, to be his voice, at that 2005 charity recital? Was it because his own voice was too weak? Did he sense in you what many of us sense in you: a complete package of seductive danger and accessible mystery? A: Thank you for that; you sound like my wife [writer Evgenia Citkowitz, mother of their two daughters]. I can’t answer that in truth. Harold had seen my work in Robert Altman’s film of his play The Room. I think he just felt this was just a good fit. I think it was possibly an easy conclusion that this was a good idea even though he was left with the burden of me. It has never troubled me why Harold asked me to read his poetry for him. I understand that his request is a gift, especially because it could so easily not have happened. It seems to have had an inevitability in a way that now makes more sense to me. It was a passing of some baton, even though it was unspoken. It simply continues to be a great and providential mission. Q: You’ve compared rehearsing with Harold to “swimming with a tiger shark.” It must have been unnerving at first to speak his words while he was mouthing them. What did he do to you that no director had done? A: Harold’s understanding of text, his understanding of language, not just of its meaning but its onomatopoeic power, was quite unique and brilliant. His standard of performance was uncompromising. He was like a great musician, a great conductor. I think of my time with him as a series of master classes. It was like going back to drama school in your late 40s. It was as if I was working with somebody who somehow unlocked 30 years of bad habits, 30 years of accumulated plaque and detritus in the plumbing. He somehow cleaned everything out, and it was like starting afresh. Q: You worked closely on Celebration with Antonia Fraser, Harold’s widow and a prominent historian. What was her most valuable advice? A: She encouraged me to visit his grave. I have recited the show at his gravesite; I’m the mad muttering man of a certain West London cemetery [laughs]. The gravesite interaction brought me—I’m not sure if I received permission, but it was an endorsement, a blessing. Harold was no metaphysician, but I did feel there was some sort of strange metaphysical thing, that’s all I can tell you. Antonia thoroughly approved and required no convincing of this. She said: “Yes, that sounds like Harold.” Q: Why do you repeat Harold’s six-line poem “I Know the Place” four times? I know it allows you to tell a funny story about Harold ripping you a new one for mistaking the word “corrects” for “connects.” [“I know the place./It is true./Everything we do/Corrects the space between death and me/And you.”] A: I find that those few lines have such passion and power and complexity that I need to repeat them in order to get some degree of understanding. I find the poem to

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be a beautiful mantra; it approaches the priestly. I remember that a nuclear physicist stayed behind after a performance to tell me that it was “the most perfect expression of Einstein’s theory of relativity I’ve ever heard.” Q: I’m sure a fair share of folks have come to your Harold show simply because they want to commune live and in person with the actor who played some of their favorite characters: Shelley in Gothic, Vladimir Bierko in 24, two incarnations of the Warlock. Did any of these Pinter rookies tell you that you radically expanded their horizons? A: I’ve tried in my work to explore as many characters and genres as have been available to me. It’s very gratifying when they overlap and interact; it’s a great continuum of what one calls a career. Knowing that a fan of the Warlock films with no previous knowledge of Harold’s work was enchanted and astonished by Harold—that is to me a great success. All are welcome. I like to stress that when John [Malkovich] and I tried to create a show, above all we wanted to create an entertainment, something people would enjoy very much. In no way were we trying to create an academic, dry evening of Harold Pinter appreciation. This is: Get ready for a wild ride; fasten your seatbelts. What’s so touching is that so many people have stayed behind to share their understanding, their appreciation. Even hardcore Harold fans have told me that they had no idea of the existence of this material, particularly his poems. It was in his poetry that he expressed his love, his humor, his intelligence and his humanity; it was in his poetry that he truly revealed himself. Q: How has this show changed you as an actor? Do you feel an itch to perform more solo plays? I can definitely see you playing the title character in Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, the last role Harold performed. A: I would consider performing, when the time is right, other solo pieces written by Harold I’ve done at readings. I’d love to approach Krapp at some point; it has such remarkable all-encompassing language and drama. Harold’s performance was beautiful. One knew him to be a dying man; there was no artifice. I would say every single job I’ve done has been completely informed, hallmarked, by the time we spent together, to the good of my work. Working with Harold, performing this play, has given me more confidence. I would never have thought that performing onstage alone was ever going to be a good idea for me. I need the company of the ensemble, the collaboration, to spark off. What I discovered is that the greatest collaborations, the greatest sparks, are between the actor and the audience. And that is why I always have the house lights up enough so that we can see each other, so that everyone knows something about everyone. I’ve described this play as Homeric theater. I’m traveling from village to village, going from campfire to campfire, telling the story of Harold Pinter in much the same way as Homer might have been telling the story of Odysseus. It has the same sharing, encompassing experience I imagine that people felt in caves. Q: Have you had any recent revelations that have made performing Celebration more meaningful and celebratory?

Julian Sands. Photo: S. Bukley.

A: The show continues to excite and thrill me. Every time I do it there are new glimpses of the nuances of Harold’ s mind—flashes of light, fireworks of understanding. One continues to strive for a level which might satisfy Harold, perhaps even please him. He has a habit of showing up in these shows which is undeniable. I feel his aura very definitely. I still feel that watchful, judgmental, biblical eye upon me. Q: Back in 2011, shortly after you launched Celebration, you told Charlie Rose that you felt Harold as a bird of prey on your arm. Four years later, do you still feel his clawing, his urging for you to fly? A: I feel that he’s perhaps not on my arm but on a stand nearby. Perhaps he’s a more benign bird of prey. Perhaps that’s an improvement [laughs]. ■ Julian Sands, “A Celebration of Harold Pinter,” 8 p.m. Oct. 6, Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College, Easton. Tickets: $31. 610-330-5009, http://williamscenter.lafayette.edu. —Geoff Gehman is the author of the memoir “The Kingdom of the Kid: Growing Up in the Long-Lost Hamptons” (SUNY Press).

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FILM CINEMATTERS

Elisabeth Moss in Queen of Earth. Photo: IFC Films

REVIEW BY PETE CROATTO

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ADD ANOTHER TITLE TO the list of movies so good yet so soul-chilling that I fear watching them ever again. In writer-director Alex Ross Perry’s Queen of Earth, you’re tethered to a young woman’s mental breakdown, and you sway and dip with every plummet her psyche takes. Part of me wanted to skip ahead. I did not. I was glad and utterly miserable. After Catherine (Elisabeth Moss, who also produced) gets dumped by her longtime boyfriend—the opening scene is Catherine’s tear-streaked face enduring the breakup—and loses her artist father, she retreats to her best friend’s woodsy vacation home. It doesn’t seem particularly restful. Perry presents the retreat in a series of cold, clinical shots. The place is practically an asylum. There are no photos on the wall, no signs that people—or warmth and happy memories—actually reside here. Catherine sleeps a lot. She tries sketching a portrait of the friend, Ginny (Katherine Waterston, Inherent Vice). Catherine, however, might as well be a guest in a stranger’s house. The two women have no rapport. Ginny circles Catherine as if she’s about to pounce. Ginny admits to spending her life cutting people off, and now she has to provide support. It’s an unfamiliar role. The distance between them is more than emotional: Ginny pushes herself to the edge of the living room when Catherine enters the room.

Queen of Earth

The women were paired off because of money and social standing. That’s it. A series of abruptly inserted flashbacks reveals the shaky foundation. The jokes—“She’s hiding in her father’s work”—cut into the bone, severing tendons. The life advice comes off as condemnation. By the end of that conversation, the camera literally shakes. Ginny instantly condemns Catherine’s then-boyfriend (Kentucker Audley) with snide comments and huffy actions, like immediately wiping the sugar he spills on the breakfast table. With the wispy buffers of niceties and new boyfriends (Ginny’s is played by Patrick Fugit) removed, these women are forced to be themselves. It’s a brutal endeavor. They walk around the house as if they’re in a dense fog. When they talk about the men who hurt them, Perry brings the camera in tight. It’s supposed to be a real bonding moment, but all you notice is how the boredom comes off them in waves. Neither is ready for what is required. And there’s no end in sight. As Ginny says during that uncomfortable, ersatz heart-to-heart: “You can get out of someone’s cycle, but you can’t get out of your own.” Catherine and Ginny’s cycles have intertwined. As the days pass and Catherine slides further away from reality, Ginny retreats. Perry never announces this. He crafts sparse, telling scenes. Morning. Ginny comes in fresh from a jog to see Catherine munching on crackers

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and soda. Ginny, decked in a sleek, black tracksuit, doesn’t sweat—but she reeks of disdain. Even when she delivers a salad to Catherine’s bedroom, Ginny presents it hesitantly and grimly, like a prison guard afraid of showing sympathy. Waterston and Moss express so much within these tight emotional confines, but Moss, late of Mad Men, is riveting. She looks different in every scene. Sometimes she’s placid and cherry; other times, her face looks smeared and blotted, like a clown in an oil painting. Moss never hints where she’s taking Catherine; the character is taking her. That fits perfectly into Perry’s modus operandi of permanent unease. So does Keegan DeWitt’s score. It’s a dial tone, a throbbing hum, the sound of—is that people murmuring? It’s a soundtrack of dissonance, of the human soul crying out. And it’s one of the best aspects of Queen of Earth. Scores typically serve as cues—here comes the hero, beware of the killer—but DeWitt’s provides a mood of uncertainty that courses through your brain. It’s maddeningly delicious, which is par for the course. Throughout Queen of Earth, just when you’re brought to the edge of understanding, Perry (Listen Up Philip) drags you back. It’s the best kind of torture. [NR] ■ —Pete Croatto Twitter, @PeteCroatto.


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FILM BAD MOVIE

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Joaquin Phoenix.

REVIEW BY MARK KERESMAN

HITHER WOODY ALLEN? AT one time The Collective We would thank Allen for a great time (Love and Death, Bullets Over Broadway, Sleeper), existential angst (Crimes and Misdemeanors), and a nearbrilliant update of Streetcar Named Desire (Blue Jasmine). He’s also given us contempt for anyone that’s not a New Yorker (Whatever Works) and on-autopilot junk (Manhattan Murder Mystery). Now We get Irrational Man, somewhere between Whatever and MMM—it feels like a rejected script that was discovered in the closet and Allen decided, “What the hell, I’ll film it.” The scoop: Abe Jenkins (Joaquin Phoenix) is an oddly beloved philosophy professor at a swanky college, which is not oddly so white as to make an LL Bean catalog look like the pinnacle of American diversity. This writer says “oddly” because Abe comes across as a drunken, moping, burn-out and self-loathing bum, the kind of professor that tells his students, “Most philosophy is verbal masturbation.” Wow, he’s a rebel and he’ll never be any good. Naturally, he’s attractive to the ladies, including female students (older man, much younger women—where’ve we seen this before?) and faculty alike. The younger student is Jill (Emma Stone), the faculty gal is Rita (Parker Posey), who is the stereotypical middle-aged woman “burdened” with a loving but somewhat dull husband. She’s frustrated,

Irrational Man and what better way to get fulfilled than to have an affair with a paunchy, facile, self-loathing drunk? Abe is clearly blasé and unimpressed about nearly everything (except drinking from an ever-present flask and getting laid), and then he overhears a mother who’s getting the shaft from an allegedly corrupt judge in a custody case. Abe figures, “Hey, I can jump-start my life by murdering this judge.” This idea gives him a new lease on life. Yup, that’s the plot. Unsurprisingly, it gives Allen a chance to bandy about philosophical nuggets from Kant and Heidegger. Where does it stumble? Where doesn’t it stumble? There’s the incessant voice-over narration—the movie keeps telling us of Abe’s alleged brilliance instead of showing us. What the audience sees is that Abe is a self-absorbed jerk who inexplicably cares about the plight of another human after caring about virtually nothing. Jill is set up to appear to be independent and intelligent, but the film shows her to be a love-struck idiot, who says after Abe pulls a “The lady will have…” stunt in a restaurant, “I love that you order for me.” She’s the standard youngergirl-in-awe-of-older-man, which might seem familiar if you’ve seen Allen’s Manhattan, in which the dweeby 40something writer is dating the 17-year-old high school hottie Mariel Hemingway. And then there’s the clunky dialogue. It’s like some of the later episodes of The Twilight Zone in which the char-

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acters sound like two Rod Serlings talking to each other. Some of the dialogue falls into the who-talks-like-this category—I know, I took Existentialism 101 in college, too, but these people say, “Simone de Beauvoir says that…” while walking along. Jill says with a straight face: “He’s [Abe] so damn fascinating and vulnerable.” Jill’s boyfriend says with eighth-grade play earnestness, “All the boys on campus desire you.” For the love of Fellini, keep her away from the malt shop, guy! While Woody has deftly juggled varied tonal aspects in the past—Blue Jasmine has its funny moments, but it’s ultimately as much a tragedy as Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire—he slips up here. Irrational Man isn’t funny enough to be a comedy, Allen doesn’t have the savvy for it to be a thriller, and its philosophical pretentions are just that—pretentious, glib, and pontificating baloney from characters who are trying to convince each other (or themselves) how deep they are. It’s not that Allen is making fun of such characters—they simply are the neurotic characters we’ve come to know from his films. What makes some films great is when you see a character on screen—whether or not you like him—and it feels like he is flesh and bone…and real. In Irrational Man everyone seems like…characters in Woody Allen movies. ■ —Mark Keresman


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FILM FILM ROUNDUP

Richard Gere in Time Out of Mind.

CURRENT FILMS REVIEWED BY KEITH UHLICH

Mistress America (Dir. Noah Baumbach). Starring: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke. College freshman Tracy (Lola Kirke) starts her semester at a New York City college feeling lonely and doubtful about her purpose in life. On a whim, she calls up her soon-tobe-stepsister Brooke (Greta Gerwig, also the screenplay coauthor), an energetic thirtysomething whose seeming freespiritedness inspires her. Because this is a Noah Baumbach movie, however, there’s a parasitic quality to the young women’s relationship that intensifies the longer they’re in each other’s company. For about three-quarters of the running time, Baumbach maintains a piercing and pungent comic rhythm, balancing acidtongued barbs with pointed character study. Then he tries to wrap everything up with a sentimental bow and it feels utterly fraudulent, retroactively weakening everything that’s come before. [R] ★★★ Ricki and the Flash (Dir: Jonathan Demme). Starring: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer. There are three movies vying for attention here: The first (the worst) is courtesy of screenwriter Di-

ablo Cody (Juno) whose tale of an aging Los Angeles bar rocker (Meryl Streep) returning home to Indianapolis to help her estranged daughter (Mamie Gummer) through a bad divorce leans on way too many clichés of the family-torn-asunder melodrama. The second film is all Streep, who impressively does all of her own singing and guitar playing (and shares some lovely romantic moments with costar Rick Springfield), yet rarely gets more than skin-deep inside her character. Fortunately, the third movie dominates thanks to director Jonathan Demme, whose all-embracing humanism is on full display. He somehow wrangles many of the questionable and disparate elements together into an ultimately moving paean to flawed people (and flawed cinema) clawing their way toward redemption and transcendence. [PG-13] ★★★1/2 She’s Funny That Way (Dir. Peter Bogdanovich). Starring: Imogen Poots, Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston. A great cast has tons of fun with Peter Bogdanovich’s NYCset screwball comedy, which was originally titled Squirrels to the Nuts after a line

(quoted by several of the characters) from Ernst Lubitsch’s masterful last film Cluny Brown (1946). Owen Wilson stars as a theater director who gets more than he bargains for after he sleeps with a thick-accented call girl (Imogen Poots) who dreams of being an actress. Soon she wreaks unwitting havoc in his life as well as others involved with, or close to, his latest production. (Jennifer Aniston and Rhys Ifans are particularly noteworthy as a neurotic therapist and a horndog actor, respectively.) This isn’t quite peak Bogdanovich, lacking the sustained, razorsharp comic timing of What’s Up, Doc? (1972) and They All Laughed (1981). Yet it still has a quality unique to this undersung auteur, finding resonant humanity and profundity behind all those perpetually slamming doors. [R] ★★★★ Time Out of Mind (Dir: Oren Moverman). Starring: Richard Gere, Jena Malone, Ben Vereen. Another excellent effort from writer-director Oren Moverman (Rampart), this rewarding drama stars Richard Gere as George, a Manhattan homeless man aimlessly wandering the city streets

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and seeking shelter wherever he can. For much of the film, George is framed in contrast to the structures and people around him. Architecture towers over him or blots him out of view, while peripheral characters carry on conversations as if he isn’t there. The movie’s soundtrack is equally overbearing (intentionally so), a cacophony of city sounds—honking cars, angry shouts, a relentless industrial drone—that seems to be doing its best to squelch any semblance of humanity. Slowly, George comes into focus: He has a daughter (Jena Malone) that he’d like to reconnect with, and a small, yet still nagging desire to better himself. Yet growth and change aren’t easy. And though the film evinces some sense of hope in its final scenes (including a beauty of a last shot that puts the father-daughter relationship at the heart of the story into shattering perspective), what sticks with you is the impressionistic sense of a life lived too long, but perhaps inescapably, at the margins. [N/R]★★★★ ■ —Keith Uhlich Member of the New York Film Critics Circle.


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FILM REEL NEWS RECENTLY RELEASED DVDS REVIEWED BY GEORGE OXFORD MILLER

Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in a scene from Moonrise Kingdom.

Moonrise Kingdom (2015) ★★★★ Cast: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel Genre: Coming-of-age romance Directed by Wes Anderson Rated PG-13 for sexual content. Despite its all-star cast, this 1960s coming-of-age romance is all about two middle-school kids who fall in love at first sight, he in his khaki Scout outfit, her in a bird costume. Suddenly the rest of the world, heck, the Cosmos, disappears for Sam (Gilman) and Suzy (Hayward). So what to do but pack a picnic and run away from all the misunderstanding, judgmental adults and live happily ever after. The only problem is they’re on a island off the coast of New England. But hey, they have each other and a portable record player— the night is theirs. The frantic parents, friends, and authorities start a massive search, all the while the oblivious kids, free at last, make out on the beach. Instead of angry, out-of-control teenage angst, we get a compelling story about the healing power of love, regardless of age.

The Falling (2015) ★★★ Cast: Maisie Williams, Florence Pugh, Maxine Peake Genre: Coming-of-age drama Unrated Running time 102 minutes.

I’ll See You in My Dreams (2015) ★★★★ Cast: Blythe Danner, Martin Starr, Sam Elliott Genre: Drama Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language.

Why are the 1960s so popular this year for coming-of-age stories? This British psychological drama takes place in a girls’ school when an outbreak of hysterical fainting strikes the students. The story centers around best friends Lydia (Williams) and Abbie (Pugh) as their relationship attempts to weather the storm of first sex (Abbie’s), a dysfunctional mother (Lydia’s), surging hormones, social conflicts, and some bizarre unknown neuroses that cause an epidemic of mass fainting. The rebellious but vulnerable teen-queens struggle to keep their balance, but their imperative for independence drives them into red zones that their parents never dared enter. The deeply nuanced characters keep the story soaring until the ending, which whimpers instead of screaming the conclusion.

When Carol (Danner), a 70-year-old widow, has to put down her dog, she’s left alone in a big house with a rat as her only companion. Decades of coping with the inevitable losses and tragedies of life have numbed her heart like a shot of Novocaine. Is this the best she can expect for her remaining years? The pool guy, about 40 years younger, offers to help with the rat, then takes her to a karaoke bar. What the heck, could something happen here? Carol tries speed dating, and makes a hit, sort of. Determined to regain her zest, she turns to a life long-lived for strength to venture into uncharted territories. She awakens a new adventurous spirit, but what does that mean in her autumn years? Danner’s terrific acting, the matter-of-fact treatment of a 70-year-old speed dater’s feelings, give the story authenticity and sincerity instead of parody.

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Good Kill (2015) ★★★★ Cast: Ethan Hawke, Bruce Greenwood Genre: Drama Rated R A conundrum of futuristic sci-fi is how advanced technology inevitably dehumanizes humans. From Bladerunners (1982) to the TV series Humans, robots perform most of the daily chores integral to our humanness, but at what cost? Good Kill takes us back to 2010 when the war on terror adapted remote-controlled drones as the preferred battle strategy. For the controllers in a trailer in the desert outside Las Vegas, the joystick that delivers death is little different from the Xbox games of their youth. Major Tom Egan (Hawke) struggles with his conscience and self-esteem as he turns more and more convoys and compounds into pixilated puffs of smoke. If bravery is a test of manhood, how can an ambush thousands of miles away affirm his worth as a soldier or, more importantly, as a human? Flying dozens of missions a week threatens to destroy the major’s marriage, his concept of right and wrong, and his connection with reality. ■


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MUSIC NICK’S PICKS REVIEWS OF STRAIGHT AHEAD JAZZ BY NICK BEWSEY

John Pizzarelli ★★★★ Midnight McCartney Concord Records John Pizzarelli is a seasoned guitarist, pop singer and debonair entertainer whose greatest talent is communicating the jazz idiom to music listeners who otherwise are indifferent to the form. On stage in August at Birdland in New York to celebrate the release of Midnight McCartney, his relentless enthusiasm as a bandleader smoothed the way for a sweetly nostalgic appreciation for lesser-known tunes by Sir Paul McCartney along with relaxed stage banter that left the audience laughing and feeling great. It’s not often that a musician is personally invited to record songs from Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles catalog, but if Sir Paul writes you as he did Pizzarelli, it’s not an opportunity to pass up. The connection was made after Pizzarelli played on McCartney’s Gram-

George Freeman / Chico Freeman ★★★1/2 All In The Family Southport Records Sometimes small records deliver big dividends in style, quality and pleasure. All In The Family is that kind of record and it’s obviously a labor of love produced by Joanna Pallatto and Bradley Parker-Sparrow, proprietors of indie label Southport Records. Amazingly, it’s a first-time recording between two venerated Chicago jazz musicians— 88-year-old guitarist George Freeman and his nephew, saxophonist Chico Freeman. This understated, melodic album plays like a house party hang for the Freeman’s and their friends. There’s no doubt that the spirit of Von Freeman hangs over this warm and engaging venture. Von, George’s brother and Chico’s dad, was a much beloved and influen-

John Pizzarelli.

Chico Freeman.

my-winning Kisses On The Bottom album, and the former Beatle suggested that the focus be on rare, gentler songs that have a late-night vibe. The result couldn’t be better. “Silly Love Songs,” “No More Lonely Nights,” and the endearing “My Valentine” are beautifully built on a bed of silky, bossa nova rhythms. Tasteful strings kiss a glorious rendition of “My Love” and lush woodwinds abound courtesy of the orchestration by Don Sebesky. Pizzarelli’s durability—he’s recorded two dozen solo albums and accompanied artists like Rosemary Clooney and James Taylor on forty others—is rooted in his passion for swing, Nat King Cole, Jobim and Frank Sinatra, and for the Great American Songbook. His success is grounded by a dedication to family. His father, Bucky Pizzarelli, wife/singer (and co-producer) Jessica Molasky, brother/bassist Martin Pizzarelli and daughter, Madeline, all contribute to the triumph of Midnight McCartney. Pianist and arranger Larry Goldings and guest spots by singer Michael McDonald and swing saxophonist Harry Allen can only ensure that this album will cross over in appeal—it’s graceful, urbane and superior jazz/pop that lingers with a burnished glow. (13 tracks; 50 minutes)

tial saxophonist from Chicago and gets his own tribute tune on the loose, grooving “Vonski.” Chico’s soulful tenor sounds perfect on “Dark Blue,” a finger-popping blues with a funky bass line. “Latina Bonita” has a smooth Spanish tinge that’s sweet on the ears, while the sturdy, contemporary swing tune, “Five Days In May” highlights George’s pop-flavored guitar. Pianist Kirk Brown is also a standout, with percolating solos on “Inner Orchestrations” and the hip, modern flow of “What’s In Between.” (22 tracks; 79 minutes)

Nick Bewsey has been writing about jazz for ICON since 2004 and is a member of The Jazz Journalists Assoc. He also paticipates in DownBeat’s Annual International Critics Poll. www.countingbeats.com Email: nickbewsey@gmail.com ★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC

Orrin Evans ★★★★ The Evolution of Oneself Smoke Sessions Pianist Orrin Evans is a Philadelphia original. With twenty-five solo records as a leader and dozens of appearances as a sideman, he’s a respected player, producer, composer, bandleader and educator. Recording here for the first time with fellow Philadelphian, bassist Christian McBride, and Karriem Riggins on drums, The Evolution Of Oneself is dynamic, diverse and profoundly expressive, spanning jazz, neo-soul, hiphop, and even country. The record is highlighted by three inventive takes: “All The Things You Are”; and two strong, diggable originals, “Iz Beatdown Time” and “Spot It You Got It.”

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I recently spoke with Orrin about his life and artistry, which collectively comes together in what he calls “his village.” You can catch his CD release party at Chris’ Jazz Café in Philadelphia on September 18 and 19. NB: The title, Evolution of Oneself, conveys transition and an arrival. It also coincided with a significant birthday for you. Did turning 40 affect the writing and production of the album? OE: A lot of the music is basically tunes I’ve been playing over the years, so indirectly it is. Most of the tunes on the album I’ve been hearing and playing for years [like Jafar Barron’s “Jewels & Baby Yaz”], and some from when I was 18 years old, so it’s all a part of my musical journey. NB: There are some very hip compositions on the record, especially your cover of Grover Washington, Jr.’s “A Secret Place.” Was he an influence on you? OE: Grover was always around when I was growing up in Philly. At the time, I was young and honestly not into what he was doing, because all I was introduced to was “Mr. Magic” and maybe his version of “Take 5” off the Time Out Of Mind album. That’s all I knew. And it wasn’t my kind of thing. Not that it wasn’t good, it just wasn’t what I was into. Then one year, it was at the Monk Contest, and Grover was there talking with Wayne Shorter and he was so nice to me that day, I thought I needed to do some investigating because maybe I was missing something. Then I just went back and checked out everything and went crazy buying everything on vinyl I could find. All of those records like Paradise, Reed Seed, Soul Box, led to a love affair with his music. It took me on a journey that I’m glad I took. NB: The addition of steel string guitarist Marvin Sewell on “Wildwood Flower” is definitely an outside the box selection. What moved you to include this? OE: I was introduced to Marvin when we had the band, Luv Park. A few years later, out of nowhere, I got a call to go on tour with Cassandra Wilson and that’s how we became close. Never had a chance, though, to do anything with him until this record. I was turned on to this old country tune and thought of Marvin Sewell’s slide guitar and called him the night before we recorded. It was going to be a trio number, but I knew I had to get Marvin on it. NB: Family and friends are especially important to you and you have a lot of both. For those who don’t know you, describe “the village.” OE: The village is everyone I’ve come into contact with over the years. In my village, not everyone has the same outlook I do. So, to put that in context, one day I’ll play with saxophonist Gary Bartz and the next day with Oliver Lake. They’re part of my village. They have two completely different approaches to the alto saxophone, but these two distinct voices have influenced me musically, and they’ve been there for me as friends. My village is diverse. Not everyone gets along, but if we can sit down and break bread together, it’s my village and you’re a part of it. NB: You’re recording with Christian MacBride and Karriem Riggins for the first time and their contribution is immense. How collaborative was this session? OE: Recording with these guys was like having a barbeque at my house and having everyone over. The first thing on my mind in the studio, is do I have enough food and cups for everyone. I just wanted to create a vibe, relaxed and flowing. Recording “A Secret Place,” Christian and I just looked at each other and smiled. We have that Philly/Grover connection, so it was really a musical hang. And so many people stopped by the studio—it’s just a comfortable scene. We are all doing our job. That’s our talent. But I want to make sure there’s always the energy, the spirit and the vibe. NB: People who haven’t attended your shows and only know your records, don’t know that you can and do sing. Is that something we might hear more of from you? OE: When we speak of fear, for me, that’s one right there. It’s not from the fear of

Orrin Evans. Photo: Howard Pitkow.

doing it; my fear is that, if someone is paying for the session or record, a producer, say, I don’t want to hear their opinion on it. (laughs) NB: Do you remember the first LP you purchased with your own money? OE: I do. To start my collection it was Joey DeFrancesco’s first record, All Of Me, and also Take 6’s So Much 2 Say. I went to Cheltenham Mall and picked them up. But those were the two that started the process. ■ —Nick Bewsey Member of The Jazz Journalists Assoc. | countingbeats.com

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MUSIC SINGER / SONGWRITER REVIEWS BY TOM WILK

Sarah McQuaid ★★★1/2 Walking into White Waterbug Records Walking into White, the fourth solo album from Sarah McQuaid, shows the artistic depth of the British-based singer/songwriter who was born in Spain

and raised in the United States. Her travels are reflected in her music and songwriting. “Low Winter Sun,” the opening track, conjures up a wistful air that matches the spirit of the season. “The Tide,” one of three songs inspired by the “Swallows and Amazons” series of children’s books, uses the rise and fall of the ocean as a symbol for a marital relationship. The trumpet playing of Gareth Flowers adds a stark counterpart to McQuaid’s guitar on the title track that employs nature as a metaphor for the unexpected obstacles of life. McQuaid’s haunting vocals are showcased without instrumentation on “Sweetness and Pain,” a song heard in three separate sections on the album. McQuaid’s eclectic taste is reflected in her song selections, ranging from the classical-styled instrumental “I’m Grateful for What I Have” to the flamenco-tinged “Yellowstone” to the spiritual “Canticle of the Sun,” derived from the writings of St. Francis of Assisi. Her adventurous spirit makes Walking into White a success. 14 songs, 34 minutes The Isley Brothers ★★★1/2 The Isley Brothers: The RCA Victor and TNeck Album Masters (1959-1983) Legacy The RCA Victor and T-Neck Album Masters chronicle the artistic development and evolution of the Isley Brothers, a groups that’s still making music after more than half a century. The 23-CD set

focuses on the years 1959 to 1983 but skips over the early and mid-1960s when they recorded for Motown and other labels. The Isleys broke through commercially in 1959 with the call-and-response frenzy of “Shout (Part 1 and 2) that paired a rhythm-and-blues groove with gospel fervor in the same manner as Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say.” In the 1960s, the brothers recruited Jimi Hendrix for a brief tenure as a sideman in the group for soulful workouts on “Testify” and “Move Over and Let Me Dance.” Hendrix’s influence can be heard with the addition of guitarist Ernie Isley. His serpentine guitar lines added a touch of funk to “That Lady,” a Top 10 hit on the rhythm and blues and pop charts in 1973, The Isleys broadened their range with the social commentary of “Harvest for the World” and “Fight the Power,” with the fiery urgency of the latter track serving as a blueprint for groups such as Public Enemy. The Isley Brothers also could rework the hits of the day to fit their style. “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Crofts is recast with psychedelic and Oriental sounds to make it the Isleys’ own. Todd Rundgren’s “Hello, It’s Me” is transformed into a romantic ballad, thanks to Ronald Isley’s soulful vocals. Also included in the box set are 84 rare and unreleased bonus tracks. Most notable is Wild at Woodstock: The Isley Brothers Live at Bearsville Sound Studios, an unreleased album that shows the versatility of the group, from the jazzy “Groove with You” to the dance rhythms of “It’s a Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop).” 281 songs, 1,181 minutes. Amy Helm ★★★1/2 Didn’t It Rain Entertainment One Music As the daughter of singer/songwriter Libby Titus and drummer/vocalist Levon Helm of The Band, Amy Helm grew up around music and pursued it as a career, first as a member of Ollabelle and now under her own name. Didn’t It Rain, her first solo album, shows she can stand on her own as an artist, while also serving as a tribute to her father who died in 2012. The elder Helm is credited as the album’s executive producer and drummed on three songs. The energetic title track, a gospel standard that features a New Orleans-style groove, was performed by Helm with The

Band as a bonus track on the reissue of the 1973 album Moondog Matinee. A cover of Martha Scanlan’s “Spend Our Last Dime,” performed as a waltz, echoes the down-home spirit of The Band’s best music. Helm, who had a hand in composing eight of the album’s songs, shows her development as a songwriter. “Rescue Me” is a soothing mid-tempo ballad, while “Roll the Stone” serves up a rhythmically hypnotic slice of blues. Helm also shows her skills as an interpreter. Her reworking of Sam Cooke’s “Good Times” is an earthy mix of blues and gospel. “Gentling Me,” co-written by Mary Gauthier and Beth Nielsen Chapman, finds Helm delivering a soothing rendition of a ballad that is tailor-made for her voice. 12 songs, 46 minutes Leaders in the Clubhouse ★★★ Fun Self-released Charlie Recksieck and Spud Davenport, the guiding force behind Leaders in the Clubhouse, put the fun in the fundamentals of rock ‘n’ roll. On Fun, their debut album, the San Diego-based duo explore the pleasures and pitfalls of everyday life through their melodic, pop-oriented songs without taking themselves too seriously. Anyone who has ever had a problem with a computer or cell phone can empathize with the message of “These Goddam Devices.” The duo sums it up succinctly: “My whole life went off line.” “Law of the Jungle” is an exploration of those is an exploration of those who disregard common sense and courtesy at the expense of everyone else. The musical influences of the group run the gamut from Randy Newman and Warren Zevon to Electric Light Orchestra and Queen. “Trophies,” which shows off those influences, resembles a pop song/symphony hybrid with four separate movements as it depicts society’s propensity to give out awards at the drop of a hat. Harry Nilsson’s “Old Forgotten Soldier” is reworked from its original incarnation as a ballad to a breezy, uptempo pop song. “Lawn Chairs” wraps up the album and offers a unique view of the apocalypse that references both Bob Dylan and a classic episode of The Twilight Zone. 10 songs, 41 minutes

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Gaye Adegbalola & The Wild Rutz ★★★1/2

Is It Still Good to Ya? Hot Toddy/Vizztone The human voice may be the most powerful musical instrument of all. It can convey warmth, anger, sadness, humor, love and just about any emotion in between. Gaye Adegbalola & the Wild Rutz (pronounced Roots) capably demonstrate that on Is It Still Good to Ya? Adegbalola, a founding member of Saffire—The Uppity Blues Women, and her trio of supporting singers, show the

power in voices coming together. The title track takes on the rigors of aging. “My hands are calloused from grabbing at dreams/My breasts are sagging from nursing schemes,” they sing with a rueful description of the toll that time will take. There’s also a recognition of unchanging intangibles. “I know my body’s changed but my heart remains the same,” they add in the final verse. “The Dog Was Here First” shows the humor in Adegbalola’s songwriting in its comic portrayal of a romantic triangle involving a canine. Other songs tackle serious topics. “The Skittles Blues” and “You Don’t Have to Take It” examine the killing of black teenagers and men and the domestic abuse of women, respectively. “Let Go Let God” reflects the spiritual side of the quartet, while “Boy in the Boat” echoes the classic doo-wop sounds of the 1950s. While the album features occasional guitar and percussion, the focus remains on the voices throughout. 14 songs, 53 minutes ■ —Tom Wilk


MUSIC AN ECLECTIC ASSORTMENT REVIEWED BY MARK KERESMAN

The Kitchen Cinq ★★★★1/2 When The Rainbow Disappears: An Anthology 1965-68 Light in the Attic In 1965 The Kitchen Cinq went from Amarillo, Texas to Los Angeles to make it big—alas, it was not to be. But they left a cache of cool recordings as a legacy, and 1960s rock fetishists will be on cloud 9.25 when they hear them. When The Rainbow Disappears includes the Cinq’s sole album Everything But (originally issued on pop icon Lee Hazlewood’s LHI label) along with non-albums singles and unreleased songs. Like most sinks, this Cinq had two taps and both ran at once—The KC streamed the winsome, breezy harmonies of The Association (remember “Cherish”? of course you do) and The Hollies with fuzz-tone-edged attack of The Yardbirds (“Heart Full of Soul”). Raggedy guitars, alluring gauzy harmonies, throbbing bass, and volatile (think Keith Moon) drumming, catchy and concise songs, and occasional baroque-ish touches (think The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby”)—and it stays crunchy in milk too. If you’re old enough to recall The Searchers and Monkees and young/hep enough to know Sufjan Stevens, The High Llamas, and/or The Polyphonic Spree, hear this. Now, I tell you. [Trivia: Songster/actor John David Souther was briefly a member of The KC.] (28 tracks, 70 min.) lightintheattic.net

some sizzling guitar—but this is primarily an emsemble music, not soloist-dominated. Iconic jazz bassist Ron Carter and Indian tabla wiz Badal Roy make guest appearances. (10 tracks, 59 min.) zohomusic.com Dale Watson ★★★★★ Call Me Insane Red House Underhill Rose The Great Tomorrow ★★★★★ Self-released Quote Dale Watson: “Country radio— that’s an oxymoron.” In this era where what passes for country music sounds like mediocre rock music, Watson is the real

Underhill Rose.

bining aspects of bluegrass, traditional country, folk, and R&B. The sensuous “Love Looks Good On You” and the title track combine a languid Southern soul feel (think “Rainy Night in Georgia”) with soothing down-home bluegrass harmonies for an ambience that’s hard to shake. Aside from fetching songs and melodious superfine singing, what makes this Tomorrow a joy is its understated quality. (11 tracks, 42 min.) underhillrose.com Andy T - Nick Nixon Band ★★★★ Numbers Man Blind Pig Some folks like their blues served straight-up, whilst others enjoy it mixed with some tasty flavors, but without diluting that blue(s) jolt, dig? The Nashville

Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet ★★★★1/2

Dale Watson.

10 Zoho 10 is the number of years this combo has been at it and it’s a wonder this lot are not better known. Led by trumpeter Gabriel Alegria, the specialty is a combination of jazz harmonies and Peruvian rhythms. They take some relatively wellknown tunes—Brubeck’s “Take Five,” Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “El Condor Pasa”—and remake them in their own image, maintaining the core of the melodies but infusing them with kaleidoscopic and percolating rhythms. While there’s nothing overtly “off-putting” about this music, the feverish and inspired playing demands attention as much as the rhythms could inspire dancers. There’re plenty of hot solos— some lovely Freddie Hubbard-ish trumpet,

deal, an unabashed throwback to the crackling honky tonk styles of Bakersfield (think Merle Haggard, Buck Owens), Waylon Jennings, and George Jones. He’s got a booming baritone voice, his band is lean and mean (great pedal steel guitar playing plus a smattering of horns), he folds some Western swing, rockabilly, and Tex-Mex into the mix, and he wears his heart proudly on his sleeve, singing profoundly of survival, heartache, and the Tavern That Surpasses All Knowing. His kind of Insane makes so much sense. (14 tracks, 42 min.) redhouserecords.com In a similar vein—call it “neo-traditionalist,” whatever—Underhill Rose are a trio of ladies that calls to mind Nickel Creek (and pre-stardom Dixie Chicks) in that theirs is a primarily acoustic sound com-

combo Andy T – Nick Nixon falls into the latter category—Andy Talamantez plays terse, blistering guitar in the manner of Peter Green (the blazing six-string master of Fleetwood Mac back when the Mac were a blues combo) and B.B. King, and Nick Nixon (who performed with Jimi

Hendrix early on) is a grand, big-as-Tennessee, full-bodied soulful belter in the manner of Bobby “Blue” Bland and Lowell Fulson. Stylistically these fellows mix Southern and Western blues styles—looser and more swingin’ than the Chicago variant—plus some swamp-y Louisiana zydeco (“What Went Wrong”) for good measure and lots of zesty, hi-calorie Hammond organ (the BBQ sauce of the music world). Refreshingly, Numbers Man is mostly original tunes about the usual subjects (she done left me, I got that feelin,’ etc.) but with the right mix of panache, good humor, and hot licks so this is a way to exorcise those blue meanies lurking within. Harmonica ace Kim Wilson contributes maybe the best mouth harp solo you’ll hear all year. At last, a Nixon we can all get behind. (14 tracks, 55 min.) blindpigrecords.com Mike LeDonne ★★★★★ Awlright! Savant Organ wizard Mike LeDonne (formerly a pianist) has played with more jazz giants than you’ve had hot breakfasts, including Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, and Milt Jackson. LeDonne keeps the fires of the soul jazz sphere burning (think Charles Earland and Jimmy McGriff) but here things are a little different. While his Groover Quartet—Eric Alexander, tenor sax; Peter Bernstein, guitar, and Joe Farnsworth, drums—live up to their sobriquet (namely, earthy, insistent & soulful grooves, natch), the hard bop quotient is a little higher this time out. Don’t get this writer wrong, this is not a bad thing, especially not with guests like bassist Bob Cranshaw and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt on board. LeDonne has SUCH a distinctive style, a smokin’ hot organ sound with an almost guttural edge. Sax-man Alexander lets the blues even more into his already hearty (and elegant) sound. Pelt’s horn adds a brassy richness to the mix on three tracks and Cranshaw beefs up the bottom end on two tracks. In short, it swings more than it cooks but make no mistake, this set cooks plenty. The seething (yet nimble) bluesy organ chords on “Mary Lou’s Blues” could meld you last boss’ heart. (8 tracks, 56 min.) jazzdepot.com ■ —Mark Keresman

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about life BY JAMES P. DELPINO, MSS,MLSP,LCSW,BCD

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MAKING LOVE 24/7: PART II

WHAT HAPPENS OUTSIDE OF the bedroom is directly connected to what occurs in the bedroom. What happens in the bedroom is the manifestation of love that is cultivated before and after, because sex is a subset of love. Having sex is a partial experience compared to the consuming and uplifting power of the love two people build and share. The couples who share great love have learned to bring out the best in each other. In so doing these couples become the chief beneficiaries of each other’s growth and development. Everyone wants to be loved in the way they want to be loved. Understanding this simple yet profound truth allows each partner to view the process of cultivating deeper, broader and higher love in a new and exciting way. Those who say that love wears off after a few years are missing this insight into the dynamics of love. We are wired neurologically to fall and stay in love for two to three years. This is about as long as it takes to make a bond and have a child or two. What takes a couple beyond this time frame with ever increasing love is the ability to rebond when the bonding hormones—vasopressen and oxytocin—begin to diminish. The couples who know better have become more attuned to each other’s needs leading them to love each other in the unique way that speaks to their hearts, minds and souls. Loving each other in the way that touches that special place deep inside becomes more integrated over time. The integration can become so profound that it appears that the couple can read each other’s thoughts. Many couples want to believe they read each other well when in fact they are simply projecting their own distortions onto each other. This might go a good distance in explaining why half of the marriages fail and the average marriage lasts only 6.5 years on average. Couples who have learned that a healthy relationship

gets better over time have merged their vision of couplehood. Everyone has pictures of how a relationship should be. When these pictures don’t match, the couple experiences a death spiral in their interpersonal dynamics. Creating a merged vision requires some tasks that are difficult at first. Adjusting Behaviors: The way we behave in the context of a relationship affects the way we view and experience the other person. Behavior is the outward manifestation of inner dynamics. When behavior is ill suited to building a relationship it reveals underlying problems. In terms of the relational dyad these underlying issues are most often based in a person’s fears of intimacy. Closeness triggers all sorts of fears and concerns and that often lead to sabotaging a relationship. Finding those behaviors that make the other person feel loved is the goal of adjusting behaviors. For those who are not free of underlying issues this often leads to the fear of losing oneself in the context of the relationship. Adjusting Speech: Words can do deep damage to the feelings of another person. When feelings are injured, destructive behaviors can occur. Finding and developing speech that makes the other person feel closer is the goal. This may appear as though the couple is trying to control each other as opposed to growing each other. Everyone deserves to be spoken to in a loving and respectful way. Flexibility of Consciousness: The ability to see all sides of a situation is known as flexibility of consciousness. Rigidity in all its forms is the enemy of real intimacy. Being flexible in response to the demands of the stresses of everyday life on a couple helps enormously in growing and maintaining a bond. Anyone can make a bad situation worse, that requires no talent or skill at all. Learning how to bend like the willow in the wind is

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much better than being stiff and broken like the branch that fails to flex. Developing Shared Values: Each couple must decide which things are most important and find a way to incorporate them into their relationship. There are, for example, studies that suggest up 70 percent of arguments between couples involve money. Finding a way to agree on financial goals and expenditures would be an example of developing shared values. While even great couples disagree on some matters they find a way to agree on what values are central to them. Keeping these shared values as a sacred trust between them, healthy couples have the character to maintain these shared values. Having the Character to Keep deals: “Character” is who we are most of the time. Knowing that we can count on each other leads to being less defensive and argumentative. People like to have some level of predictability and routine to relax and merge deeply. Being Able to Surrender Negative Aspects of the Ego: Surrendering pride and selfishness to the greater cause of love may be the most difficult for people in general. The idea here is that a certain amount of sacrifice yields tremendous amounts of love and understanding. This process is similar to saving up for something really special to buy or experience. That trip to Paris may involve not spending money on frivolous things for the greater joy of seeing and experiencing the world’s most popular tourist destination. Try not to spend your emotional currency on things not worthy of the greater goal of developing greater, deeper, broader and higher love. ■

Jim Delpino is a psychotherapist in private practice for over 33 years. jdelpino@aol.com Phone: (215) 364-0139.


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foodie feature BY A. D. AMOROSI

ONE OF THE BEST things about Philadelphia’s food scene isn’t its need to make celebrities out of its chefs—it’s that so many of its prized restaurant entrepreneurs constantly have new games, plans or challenges afoot. Even an icon—the legendary Georges Perrier who hardly chilled when he sold Le Bec Fin—has new tricks up his sleeve. GEORGES PERRIER French classicist Perrier was cooking at Marc Vetri’s flagship when the call came that Crow & the Pitcher chef Alex Capasso had been arrested. Since Perrier’s one-time sommelier—Crow partner Michael Franco—is an old friend (and in possession of Le Bec’s rolling cheese cart), Chef Georges offered to help in any way he could. That has turned out to be a renaming of an elegant Rittenhouse eatery (The Crow), a new menu by Perrier (simple gastropub items such as Roasted Lancaster Chicken, Panseared Sea Scallops) and a constant role as adviser.

Cristina Martinez and Benjamin Miller at Barbacoa.

Al Paris and Georges Perrier at Heritage.

NEW TRICKS Some of Philly’s most beloved chefs end summer and head into autumn with fun new gigs

DAVID KATZ Within two decades, Chef David Katz has become the first blade behind the exquisite Restaurant M, as well as chef-owner of the late Mémé (and really, no one does duck as decadently as David). At present, Katz is creating new menu items and continuing to ensure quality as the culinary director of the health-conscious Honeygrow and its four area locations. BOBBY SARITSOGLOU Midtown Village’s romantic Greek restaurant Opa recently got its newest executive chef (and only Greek one to date), Bobby Saritsoglou, a Michelin-starred chef at Varoulko in Athens, who spent time at Santucci’s in South Philadelphia. Rather than making standard Americanized versions of Greek food, Saritsoglou focuses on smaller plates, fresh ingredients, handmade everything, and a wide array of fish and meat dishes. George and Vasiliki Tsiouris, owners of Opa and Drury Beer Garden, are also re-doing Coco’s Food & Spirits on South 8th Street. NICOLE MARQUIS The woman who opened Hip City Veg and Charlie Was A Sinner to Philly’s most adventurous vegan diners continues her reign with the allLatin, all-vegan, Bar Bombón on Rittenhouse Square. Look for the Pollo o Carne Empanada and Arepas de Tofu y Chorizo for a start. CRISTINA MARTINEZ AND BEN MILLER South Philly’s husband and wife team, Cristina Martinez and Ben Miller, sold Lamb Barbacoa—Chef Martinez’s family recipe since childhood in Mexico—at the busiest food cart at 8th and Watkins. The pair, however, found themselves needlessly harassed by police and licensing pencil pushers. Making lemonade from lemons, they found a comfy brickand-mortar space for South Philly Barbacoa off the corner of 11th and Morris, got mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar to work his magic, and the Miller/Martinez team now sells the most succulent lamb tacos every weekend starting at 5 a.m.

Chef Bobby Saritsoglou at Opa.

Chef Kevin Sbraga and Chef David Katz.

All photos on this page ©Reese Amorosi.

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AL PARIS Chef Al Paris has been in business with brothers Robert and Ben Bynum since the days of Zanzibar Blue, and has partnered with them for Heirloom and Paris Bistro in Chestnut Hill. Now, Paris, the Bynums, and Harry Hayman are heading to North Broad Street—where Stephen Starr’s Route 6 once resided at Broad and Mt. Vernon Streets—to open a white linen restaurant with southern cooking and live jazz by autumn’s end. ■


food BY ROBERT GORDON

HAN DYNASTY THROUGHOUT THE TWO CAVERNOUS main dining rooms, heaps of food crush down on wooden tabletops surrounded by gobbling groups of mostly 20- and 30-somethings. Han Dynasty is upfront with its modus operandi—it serves heaps of food at low prices. On every visit, our server started off asking if it was our first visit. In order not to hear the initiation rap again, we said yes. Each time, the recitation regaled the portions and cautioned us not to order too much. Now that’s a rarity. The institutional counsel is: “Just order an appetizer and an entrée. You’ll still wind up taking some home.” Next, the servers address the menu iconography. A graduated 1-10 “heat” scale is listed alongside most dishes. But the kitchen will tone the heat down at your request. Portions are whopping. The fare is generally good. Han prides itself on authenticity, serving dishes prepared as they would be in their native land. House-made chili oil is used with delicious abandon, and over the years, HD’s Dan Dan noodles have cultivated a loyal following. If imitation be the sincerest form of flattery, HD should be flattered. Dan Dan imitations continue to pop up in other eateries around the city. This signature dish is tasty, combining a litany of ingredients like ground pork, preserved Chinese vegetables, chile oil, sesame paste, Sichuan peppercorn oil, sugar, and others. The resulting taste is reminiscent of peanut butter that’s sparked with subtle heat. The pork-fried crumbles that speckle the noodles contribute little, other than textural variation. Pork Belly in Sweet Garlic Chili Sauce departs from typical Western treatments. It’s a mammoth heap of bacon spartanly garnished and served in a thin, fiery red pool of liquid, which cuts the richness with more power than finesse. HD sticks to Sichuan tradition. You can choose from a number of different preparation styles. For instance: Dry Fish Style is triple flash-fried; Dry Pot Style is prepared sizzling in a mini-wok; Salt ‘n Pepper Style, is served battered; and so on. You can choose among fish, chicken, pork, rabbit, lamb or tofu with prices varying according to your selection. The texture of the tofu is outstanding. Few could refute Han Dynasty’s whoppingly generous servings and low prices. Service and ambiance are not so unassailable. On one visit, we didn’t hear a word from the hostess. Not one. From our unrequited greeting, through her robotic, sullen check for our reservations in the computer to her non-vocal departure after showing us to our table. It made us a bit, well, uncomfortable. Next, a waiter spoke not a word but went straight to his work, filling all the water glasses. Finally, another server arrived and broke the sound barrier. He described the menu somewhat like a tipster at Philadelphia Park rather than a server detailing fine food. A series of follow-up visits failed to raise the bar of hospitality substantially. A pall of aloofness haunts the ambiance. A series of flat-screens hanging on huge bare walls serves as the sole décor. But for Dan Dan Noodles and hot Sichuan fare dialed up to authentic heat levels, and plenty of it, Han Dynasty is a fine destination. ■ Han Dynasty (University City) 3711 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA (215) 222-3711. handynasty.net/ucity — Robert Gordon r.gordon33@verizon.net

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food BY ROBERT GORDON

CROSS CULTURE CAN IT BE THAT a decade has passed since Cross Culture brought authentic Indian cuisine to Doylestown? I still remember my first visit to Cross Culture. At the time, it was in Peddler’s Village. I was impressed by the vibrancy of the seasoning, the subtle nuance of the naan bread, and a memorably tender Chicken Tikka Masala. I was convinced that Chef-Owner Monty Kainth’s tiny Peddler’s Village confines would find a larger venue. Doylestown provided that space. Domani Star’s Roleri family closed the American Kitchen and Cross Culture moved in. Today, Cross Culture’s classy burnt orange

logo and alluring dining porch is an icon of Doylestown’s Restaurant Row. But still—a decade? Indian gastronomy spans space and time. Billions have swarmed over that troubled landmass—each group contributing, tweaking, and evolving a national gastronomy that exploits indigenous spices like cumin, coriander, cardamom, mustard, mango powder, ginger, turmeric, tamarind, saffron, and curry. What a difference a decade

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makes. In today’s global marketplace, such ingredients, once rare and exotic, are staples in the pantries of many American-Contemporary eateries. Today’s “seasoned” American palate is no stranger to these flavors. But they’re usually fused and sometimes muted by diffident chefs fearful of straying off of the American mainstream’s culinary field of play. Cross Culture doesn’t. This popular BYOB focuses on northern Indian gastronomy and specifically on tandoor specialties. There’s also a broad selection of curry dishes and kormas. For the reticent of palate, you need not fear overly aggressive spicing. The kitchen tailors the heat of each dish to individual taste. Digging into Cross Culture’s Chicken Tikka suggests why tikkas have displaced roast beef in the hearts of so many of my Northern British chums who frequent Manchester’s famed Curry Mile. Cross Culture’s Shrimp Tandoori remains succulent and tender after broiling. Malai Chicken Kabab brings a long spear of marinated, moist chicken tableside, while Boti Kabob skewers generous morsels of juicy lamb dialed up to a nice burn. The tandoor dishes are all gluten-free, and not surprisingly there are numerous choices for vegan/vegetarians. Vegetarian Samosa orchestrates a flavorful interplay of redolent fresh basil with garlic and spiced potatoes with spicy house chutney. Mixed Vegetarian Plate for Two ($7.95) pairs vegetarian samosas and pakoras, which are petit, pungent fritters. Piles of papadums (thin, crisp bread-like discs made from urad flour) share the plate. Although September is generally not soup weather in Doylestown, Cross Country offers two soups with yearround appeal: Mulligatawny, a buttery rich split pea soup; and Chicken Soup, which revs with a raft of Indian spices. Malai Koftsa, homemade vegetable balls, is sparked with a silky sauce laced with coconut and cashews. Entrées can be ordered in a number of different styles, most notably: Korma, Vindaloo, Curry, which extends the menu’s reach. For dessert, Gulab Jamun ($4.95) shouldn’t be missed. These lush, milk-and-cheese balls drenched in syrup and served warm rank with the tastiest I’ve ever had. Indulge in a Mango Sunday as well. Vanilla ice cream is topped with sliced mangos and mango pulp capped in whipped cream. Cross Culture is ideal for a casual or business-casual luncheon or dinner. The interior, with its high ceilings and ubiquitous warm woods, exudes confident casual, yet warm, chic. The large raised front porch provides Restaurant Row’s finest alfresco perch, just as it has for the past decade. ■ Cross Culture, 62-64 West State Street, Doylestown, PA 215-489-9101. crosscultureindiancuisine.net


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HOTEL Modern Cuisine h Classic Comfort Corner of Swan & Main Lambertville, NJ 609-397-3552

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The Los Angeles Times

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SUNDAY CROSSWORD PUZZLE

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115 117 121 123 127 128 129 130 131 132

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Agenda ART EXHIBITS THRU 9/6 The Puzzling World of John Sloan. Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, DE. 302-571-9590. delart.org THRU 9/13 The Simple and the Sweet. New series of paintings by Philadelphia-area artist Megan Coonelly. The Quiet Life Gallery, 17 So. Main St., Lambertville, NJ. 609-397-0880. quietlifegallery.com

Miller Gallery. Reception 9/12, 3-5. 610683-5803. kutztown.edu/artgallery 9/12-10/11 Country Roads. Group landscape exhibition. Patricia Hutton Galleries, 47 W. State St., Doylestown. 215-348-1728. patriciahuttongalleries.com 9/16-10/17 Mystery & Magic, The Trompe L’Oeil Vision of Gary T. Erbe. Reception: 9/16, 68. Artist talk 9/23, 6-8. The Baum School of Art, 510 W. Linden St., Allentown. 610-433-0032. baumschool.org

THRU 9/19 Absolutely Abstract Exhibition. Philadelphia Sketch Club, 235 S. Camac St., Philadelphia. 215-545-9298. sketchclub.org

9/18-11/1 After Fukushima/Memories. Archival pigment prints of cameraless chemigrams by Norman Sarachek. New Arts Program Gallery 173 W. Main, Kutztown. Reception 9/18 6-9; Gallery talk 8:00. One-toone conversations with artist Sept. 18/19 by appt. 610-683-6440. newartsprogram.org

THRU 9/27 Art in Wilmington 1970–1990. Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, DE. 302-571-9590. delart.org

9/22 Revisiting South Bethlehem, 150 Years of Photography, 7PM. Baker Hall, Lehigh University, Bethlehem. 610-758-3615. LUAG.org

THRU 9/30 Member Exhibition of works by Melanie Dion & other PSC artists. Philadelphia Sketch Club, 235 S. Camac St., Philadelphia. 215-545-9298. sketchclub.org

10/8 …Of the Americas, Contemporary Latin American Art. Gallery talk with José Antonio Navarrete and Ricardo Viera, 5PM. Lower Gallery, Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University, 420 E. Packer Ave., Bethlehem. 610-758-3615. LUAG.org

THRU 10/11 A Shared Legacy: Folk Art In America. Free through 9/6. Allentown Art Museum, 31 North Fifth Street, Allentown. 610-432-4333. allentownartmuseum.org THRU 11/15 Veils of Color. Work by Elizabeth Osborne. James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 S. Pine St., Doylestown. 215-3409800. michenermuseum.org 9/1-10/10 Paintings, sculpture, and works on paper from the Lafayette Art Collection. Williams Center Gallery, Lafayette College, 317 Hamilton St., Easton. 610330-5361. galleries.lafayette.edu 9/1-10/24 Photographs From the Lafayette Art Collection. Grossman Gallery, Williams Visual Arts Building, Lafayette College, 243 N., Third St., St., Easton. 610-330-5361. galleries.lafayette.edu 9/12-10/11 “From Here to Haiti,” a benefit to reconstruct classrooms in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Donation, $30. E-Moderne Gallerie, 116 Arch St., Philadelphia. 267926-2123. e-modernegallerie.com 9/12-10/11 Shifting Paradigms/Tribute to the New Arts Program. Works by James Clark, Joseph Egan, Paul Harryn, Barbara Kilpatrick, Michael Kessler, James Carroll. Kutztown University Marlin and Regina

10/14-17 & 10/21-23 Fall Open House, 11-4, and appt. Ahlum Gallery, 106 North 4th St., Easton, PA. AhlumGallery.com 10/22 Object as Subject: Selections from LUAG Teaching Collection. Main Gallery, Zoellner Arts Center & Gallery. Gallery talk w/Nicholas Sawicki, Ricardo Viera, 5PM. Lehigh University, 420 E. Packer Ave, Bethlehem. 610-758-3615. LUAG.org 9/12-10/11 Shifting Paradigms/Tribute to the New Arts Program. Kutztown University Marlin and Regina Miller Gallery. Reception 3-5, 9/12. 610-683-5803. kutztown.edu/artgallery

GALAS/FESTIVALS/AUCTIONS 9/19, 20 19th Riverside Festival of the Arts, 10-5. Fine artists, crafts people, musicians and authors. Downtown Easton. Eastonriversidefest.com. 9/26 & 9/27 22nd New Hope Annual Outdoor Arts & Crafts Festival. Music and food. New Hope-Solebury High School, W. Bridge St. Free shuttle to and from festival and Main St. Free. Sat., 10-6; Sun.,10-5. newhopeartsandcraftsfestival.com

10/3 Stahl’s Pottery Preservation Society 8th Annual Autumn Pottery Festival, 9-4. 25 potters, pottery site tour, demonstrations, refreshments. $3 adult/under 18 free. Free parking. Rain or shine. 6826 Corning Rd., Zionsville. 610-965-5019. stahlspottery.org 10/4 Art Auction for the Karl Stirner Arts Trail. Cocktail reception 3:00, Auction 4:00. Lafayette College, Easton. karlstirnerartstrail.org 10/17 Autumn Alive. Pet parade, cupcake contest, entertainment, crafters/vendors, beer tasting. Rain date 10/24. Quakertown. Presented by Quakertown Alive. 215-536-2273. quakertownalive.com 10/17 The Philadelphia Sketch Club’s 15th Annual Gala honoring Vincent Desiderio, Garth Herrick and Diane Burko. Art auction, cocktails, buffet, music. 215-545-9298. sketchclub.org.

THEATER 9/17-9/20 The First 100 Years of Edith Piaf, a musical journey through 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Touchstone Theatre, 321 E. 4th Street, Bethlehem. 610-867-1689. touchstone.org 9/30-10/11 Bus Stop. Act 1 Performing Arts, DeSales University. Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, 2755 Station Ave., Center Valley. 610-282-3192. desales.edu/act1 10/6 Julian Sands: A Celebration of Harold Pinter. Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College, 317 Hamilton St., Easton. 610-330-5009. williamscenter.lafayette.edu 10/15 David Sedaris, 8:00. State Theatre, 453 Northampton St., Easton. 610-2523132. statetheatre.org 10/15-10/25 Once Upon A Mattress. Act 1 Performing Arts, DeSales University. Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, 2755 Station Ave., Center Valley. 610-282-3192. desales.edu/act1

DINNER & MUSIC Thursday nights, Community Stage with John Beacher, 8-midnight. Karla’s, 5 W. Mechanic St., New Hope. 215-8622612. Karlasnewhope. Thurs.-Sat., Dinner and show at SteelStacks, Bethlehem. 5-10, table service and valet parking. artsquest.org

CONCERTS 9/11 Barry Harris Trio w/Jon Irabagon & Marquis Hill. Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College, 317 Hamilton St., Easton. 610-330-5009. williamscenter.lafayette.edu 9/12 Philip Glass, piano; Jon Gibson, saxophone. Kutztown University-Schaeffer Auditorium, 7PM, reception follows. 610-683-6440. newartsprogram.org 9/12 Sheila E., 8PM. Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University. Free event parking. 420 E. Packer Ave., Bethlehem. 610-7582787. zoellnerartscenter.org 9/17 Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra performs American Music of the 19th Century, 6PM, free. Allentown Art Museum, 31 North Fifth Street, Allentown. 610432-4333. allentownartmuseum.org 9/18 Cimarrón. Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College, 317 Hamilton St., Easton. 610-330-5009. williamscenter.lafayette.edu 9/18 Morgan James. 7 & 9, Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University. Free parking. 420 E. Packer Ave., Bethlehem. 610-7582787. zoellnerartscenter.org 9/27 Prism Quartet. Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College, 317 Hamilton St., Easton. 610-330-5009. williamscenter.lafayette.edu.

10/14 Seán Curran Company w/ Ustatshakirt Plus Ensemble. Williams Center, Lafayette College, 317 Hamilton St., Easton. 610-330-5009. williamscenter.lafayette.edu

10/16 Cécile McLorin Salvant. Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College, 317 Hamilton St., Easton. 610-330-5009. williamscenter.lafayette.edu 10/20 Riyaaz Qawwali. Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College, 317 Hamilton St., Easton, PA. 610-330-5009. williamscenter.lafayette.edu 10/20 Dan Simpson and Jim Meck. Blind artists in observance of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, with Glenn Hofmann. Arts at St. John’s. St. John’s Lutheran Church, 37 So. Fifth St., Allentown, PA. 610-435-1641. stjohnsallentown.org

MUSIKFEST CAFÉ 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, PA 610-332-1300. Artsquest.org 9/3 Delta Rae 9/9 Chon 9/11 Ana Popovic 9/18 Here Come the Mummies 9/25 XPN Welcomes DR. DOG 10/4 Burton Cummings

KESWICK THEATRE 291 N Keswick Ave, Glenside, PA (215) 572-7650 keswicktheatre.com 9/9 9/13 9/12 9/13 9/17 9/19 9/22 9/24 9/25 9/26 9/27 9/28

The Milk Carton Kids Little Feat Sinbad Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell Jackie Evancho Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam Cheap Trick An Acoustic Evening with Yo La Tengo, featuring Dave Schramm Kashmir The Airborne Toxic Event Passenger-Gregory Alan Isakov Bob Burnham

READINGS / LECTURES 10/3 Baroque and Beyond. 7:30. Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra, Christ Lutheran Church, 1245 W. Hamilton St., Allentown. 610-434-7811. pasinfonia.org 10/6 Tuesday, Noon-Ten Series, Arts at St. John’s. St. John’s Lutheran Church, 37 So. 5th St., Allentown. 610-435-1641. stjohnsallentown.org

9/12 Panoply Books Poetry Festival, 6PM. Outdoor reading featuring 20 poets. Rain or shine. Refreshments. Come hear our faves read about love and its discontents. Hayden Saunier, Bernadette McBride, Juditha Dowd, Ravenna Taylor, Joanne Leva, Fred Lowe. Free. 46 N. Union St., Lambertville, NJ. 609-3971145. panoplybooks.com

10/10 Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton. 8PM, Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University. Free event parking attached to center. 420 East Packer Ave., Bethlehem, PA.610-758-2787. zoellnerartscenter.org

9/20 PA German art and culture specialist Lisa Minardi on fraktur and painted furniture, 1:00. Allentown Art Museum, 31 N. 5th Street, Allentown. 610-432-4333. allentownartmuseum.org

DANCE 9/16 Mark Morris Dance Group. Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College, 317 Hamilton St., Easton. 610-330-5009. williamscenter.lafayette.edu.

10/13 Andrew Long, organist. Muhlenberg College. Arts at St. John’s. St. John’s Lutheran Church, 37 So. Fifth St., Allentown, PA. 610-435-1641. stjohnsallentown.org

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09 2015  

ICON is a sophisticated yet unpretentious, quirky yet serious, cultural monthly magazine with a focus on entertainment, fine and performing...

09 2015  

ICON is a sophisticated yet unpretentious, quirky yet serious, cultural monthly magazine with a focus on entertainment, fine and performing...